EP. Michele Bachmann
(R-Minn.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and conservative
commentator Glenn Beck (formerly of Fox News) competed with
each other with pro-Israel sentiments.
Of course, thatís to be expected at the
114th anniversary award dinner of the Zionist
Organization of America at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. As
president Morton A. Klein pointed out, "We are an
organization thatís proud to have Zionist prominently in its name."
"I am a lover of Israel," Bachmann, 55,
affirmed. She said the real threat to Israel is not a Palestinian
state but a nuclear Iran. "We must stand with Israel against Iran."
In forceful tones she added, "We must sell
additional bunker busters to Israel. We should move our U.S. embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will never be divided. Not one
inch of Israel will be on the chopping block."
In a private conversation with me,
Bachmann, an Evangelical Christian, mentioned how thrilled she was
to spend the summer of 1974 as a volunteer in Israel after high
school in Anoka, Minn. At the time she was Michele Amble, 18,
one of 17 teenagers from the Twin Cities on a mission sponsored by
Young Life, a Christian ministry.
"I stayed in Kibbutz Beeri at Beersheba,"
she said. "Weíd get up at 4 in the morning, pick weeds in the cotton
fields till noon, work in the kitchen, then pass out in the
afternoon. It was one of the greatest times of my life."
Ros-Lehtinen, 59, chairman of the House
Foreign Affairs Committee, insisted that Palestinian statehood is a
threat to the state of Israel, along with a nuclear Iran. She also
applauded the administration on its opposition to Unesco policy.
"Money talks at the UN. Why should we send our money to reward bad
ZOA board member Harvey Friedman,
described a visit to Ros-Lehtinen office in Washington. She is the
first Cuban American and Hispanic elected to Congress. He told her,
"Iím not here to ask for anything. I just want to thank you. You
have a Yiddishe neshama."
The Congresswoman, an Episcopalian, asked
her intern, an Orthodox Jew with payot, "Yankel, whatís a Yiddishe
Yankel said itís a great compliment,
meaning "you have a Jewish soul."
"I like that," she replied.
Friedman told the dinner audience that
Ros-Lehtinenís maternal grandparents were Jews from Turkey who came
to Cuba and founded the first Sephardic synagogue there.
Glenn Beck, 47, a Mormon who calls himself
a proud Christian Zionist, said that on his visit to Israel this
year he went to the Western Wall at two in the morning. He was
amazed to see Jews there at that hour. "Name any place in the
Christian world where they pray 24/7."
On his trip to Auschwitz this summer he
entered a room filled with prayer shawls. "It was profound darkness,
yet people still worshiped God. "What does it take for a man in that
position to not give up on God? The world does not hate you. The
enemy of God hates you."
In Poland Beck met with a righteous
gentile who saved 500 Jews. He sat with her for an hour and held her
hand. "We didnít become righteous," she insisted. "We just remained