There is No Jewish Vote—There are Two, Diametrically Opposed | Opinion

An I24News poll determined that 63.3 percent of Israelis would prefer to see President Donald Trump reelected, as opposed to 18.8 percent for Joe Biden. The majority believe that electing Biden would be harmful to the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

But this difference pales in comparison to the new poll from Ami Magazine, which determined that 83 percent of the Orthodox, and fully 95 percent of the Charedi, traditional Orthodox, support the reelection of the president. Among Charedi respondents, only 2 percent said they plan to vote for Joe Biden.

The overwhelming majority of Israel's Jews fled there escaping persecution elsewhere, primarily in the Arab world. They recognize President Trump for his fairness and his friendship, and for a foreign policy that has spread peace and helped ensure their safety. Trump vacated the Palestinian Authority's veto power over Israel's self-determination and withdrew funding from the vicious pay-to-slay bounties for the families of terrorists. His opponent pledges to reverse this policy.

Politicians from both parties—along with countless media pundits—assured us that a massive conflagration would result if the United States were to move its embassy to Jerusalem as Congress directed in 1995. Trump proved them wrong. Thanks to his bold action, numerous countries moved or plan to move their own embassies. Israel now has peaceful relations with the UAE, Bahrain and Kosovo, a deepened relationship with Serbia, suggestions of a thaw with Saudi Arabia, and multiple indications of future breakthroughs.

The same Ami Magazine poll showed overwhelming support for Israel in the Orthodox community, and one might be tempted to dismiss the Orthodox as "one-issue voters." But this would be wrong.

For those who adhere to Jewish religious tradition, the right to free practice of religion is cherished as a privilege—recognition of this right is hardly universal. Attorney Nathan Lewin, a leading Orthodox legal advocate, described the present-day Supreme Court as the best for religious liberties seen in his lifetime, even before the nomination of Judge Amy Barrett. Many on the Left believe that modern "rights" advanced over the past few decades take priority over our 3,300-year-old Torah in a case of conflict.

Israel flag
A spectator holds a flag during the Celebrate Israel Parade along Fifth Avenue May 31, 2015 in New York City. Eric Thayer/Getty

Observant Jews endorse policies that build and support life, family and faith as good for all Americans. We insist upon private, parochial schools to educate our children. Orthodox Jews also recognize that denying funding to America's finest is a recipe for disaster: the Bible demands judges and officers, for the alternative is anarchy.

Again per the Ami poll, Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly believe that the president is treated unfairly by a hostile media. They know the president quickly and vocally condemned both neo-Nazis and Antifa. Alan Dershowitz described Trump's Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism as the single most important thing done on behalf of Jewish students in his six decades in academia. And the Orthodox also know that as they were viciously attacked on the streets of New York City last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio did little to help and insisted the Black and Arab perpetrators were motivated by white supremacy.

Yet in the larger Jewish community, the majority clearly plan to vote for Joe Biden. Why is their preference so wildly discordant with that of Israelis and the observant?

The answer can be summed up in the opening line of a news report by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from May of last year: "Senior Democrats in Congress embraced the agenda of the Reform movement, including gun control, immigration reform, abortion rights and dealing with climate change."

Think about that for a moment. Without a hint of irony, the progressive agenda was described as that of the Reform movement, something which congressional Democrats have "embraced" rather than developed. It seems inarguable that the Reform movement has replaced classical Jewish, Biblical values with progressive politics.

To confuse matters further, Conservative Judaism is similarly far from conservative. And, sadly, the largest and fastest growing segment of the American Jewish community today is "Jews of no religion," unaffiliated with any Jewish movement. These are Jews who, in large part, have adopted the progressive agenda. Recognizing that this agenda needs no religious affiliation, and indeed is inherently discordant with classical Judaism, they have discarded Judaism.

An increasing number, though, now recognize that something is amiss—that the discrepancy between the attacks upon the president that they hear from the pulpit and his actual policies is exceeded only by that between the values espoused by their leaders and words of the Bible itself.

In less than three weeks, Jews will vote in accordance with their values; the question is whether those values will be derived from Judaism or progressivism. It seems that either one leads inevitably to a particular choice.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken is managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.