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Two Tribes?


Late last week results of early voting by expat American Jews in Israel were released, with John McCain winning about 70% of the votes. This has something to with the reality factor, when your personal house is in the line of fire of Iran’s half-built nukes. And it has something to do with the fact that the majority of Jewish immigrants to Israel from the U.S. over the past two decades have been Orthodox, of one stripe or another. Social and religious values dictate conservative politics among Orthodox Jews as among the religious of most Christian denominations.

So, today I was at the Modern Orthodox day school my fourth and fifth grade children attend, to participate in part of the election day program, which included the traditional mock election. Let’s assume that all of these kids voted the way their parents — or their more vocal parent, in split homes — vote. When the principal announced that the winner was John McCain the auditorium went wild. And it was a blowout — 73% for McCain. To be sure, a growing number of these students come from Jewish families that are more recent immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Algeria and other Arab countries, than the more politically acculurated Ashkenazi Jews who’ve been here a century or more. In general those families retain their belief in hard power, and don’t take soothing words and lilting rhetoric about peace so seriously.

In other lower school races, there was a statistical tie between “courage,” and “experience” as the most important attribute for the next president.  ”Inspires hope,” and “popular” scored badly.  And, rejecting political correctness, the children wished to re-instate dodge-ball at recess and have more frisbees available.

So today the tuition doesn’t bother me so much — meaningless though the results may be in the scheme of things.  However I am not looking forward to the stats on the larger Jewish community support for Obama, since the self-preservation instinct is a bit thin on the ground among my more liberal co-religionists. And, when Khalidi, Dennis Ross, Michelle, and Minister Farakkhan go to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new U.S. taxpayer funded Palestinian government office complex in downtown Jerusalem, to quote Rick Moran, “We didn’t know” is not going to accepted as an excuse.


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