Religious Zionist rabbis back Trump, say he will counter Iran threat

Group of prominent rabbis post call to support Trump, citing Iran nuclear threat as their basis.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A group of prominent rabbis from the religious-Zionist camp published a letter in English calling on Jews with American citizenship to back Donald Trump in tomorrow’s U.S. presidential election, Makor Rishon reported Monday.

“During his presidency, President Trump blocked Iran‘s nuclear program – the greatest threat to World Peace,” the rabbis wrote, noting that Iran has repeatedly stated “that it wishes to eliminate the State of Israel.”

Supporters of both Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden have been campaigning for months in Israel in a bid to influence some of the 100,000 U.S. citizens who live in the country.

The rabbis noted that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden previously “declared that he would reinstate this dangerous agreement with Iran.”

The rabbis did not mention what many Jews consider Trump’s biggest act of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel’s capital city.

Instead, the rabbis ended with an acknowledgement of Trump’s successes in achieving new peace agreements with Arab countries that they said “will strengthen the regional economy, security and peace.”

In calling for Jews to vote for Trump with the shadow of the Iranian nuclear threat in the background, the rabbis said, “to you it is a ballot, to us it is a question of life itself.”

The religious-Zionist movement believes in a combination of Torah study and serving the country, including in the IDF, although many of its rabbis are divided over the service of women in the military.

One member of the group, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, posted a video on social media with English subtitles and at one point likened Biden to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who “thought that appeasing the Nazi beast and giving in to them would bring peace to the world. The result was great disaster for the Jews, a great disaster for Europe.”

However, the rabbis are not unanimous. Last week the head of the influential Har Etzion yeshiva in Gush Etzion, Rabbi Moshe Lichtenstein, told Makor Rishon there was no way that Jews should support Trump.

“This is a mentally disturbed person without any inhibition or judgement who controls the button of the most powerful nuclear weapons in the world — and here people applaud him for opening an embassy in Jerusalem,” Lichtenstein said.

The group “Democrats Abroad Israel” has also been campaigning to influence the expat vote both in Israel and in America, giving out T-shirts with B”H-2020 in both Hebrew and English. The acronym is used by religious Jews as a short form for “with the help of God,” but also is the initials in both languages of Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.