As a leader in the American Jewish community for some 30 years, I have never asked fellow Jews to vote for a presidential candidate. I have always believed that Jews have had Jewish reasons to vote for candidates from both parties.
Not this election.
There are overwhelmingly powerful Jewish reasons to vote for President Bush and equally powerful Jewish reasons not to vote for John Kerry.
To understand this, I need to explain the word "Jewish." It means two things: that which concerns Judaism and its values, and that which concerns Jews as a distinct ethnic people. Whichever definition one chooses, the case for the re-election of President Bush and the rejection of John Kerry -- and of the left, which along with radical Islam is the Jews' great enemy in our time -- is overwhelming.
Regarding the second definition, the one issue that overwhelms all others is the security of Israel.
For identifying Jews, there is an acute awareness that a generation after the extermination of one out of every three Jews in the world, the Jewish state, though as small as New Jersey, is indispensable to the security of the Jewish people. Just about every Jew recognizes that if Israel had existed in 1933 or even 1938, there would not have been a Holocaust.
In light of this preoccupation with Israel's security, identifying Jews, both liberal and conservative, have always been united on behalf of Israel's battle for survival. And it has been a battle since the day modern Israel was created in 1948. The Arab world (and since 1979, Iran, too) wants Israel destroyed. No country in the world is delegitimized except for Israel. The world's left and much of the Islamic world routinely deny Israel's, and only Israel's, right to exist as a Jewish state. The United Nations itself did this when its General Assembly passed its infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution, which meant that Israel has no more right to exist than did apartheid South Africa -- to which the left, the Palestinians, and other Muslims and Arabs routinely compare it.
Only the United States has protected Israel since 1967, when the Jewish state fought one of its many wars for survival against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Therefore, which ideology and what type of man governs America is a matter of life and death for Israel. And most Jews know this.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”