Once again, politicians beware

Once again, politicians beware

The Municipal Non-Partisan Election season is upon us. That election is May 8. School board elections precede it by a couple of weeks (April 17).

There is a congressional primary coming to the state on June 5, which also will see a presidential primary.

In other words, the election season is in high gear and, as politicians appeal for the Jewish vote, they will concentrate on their positions rergarding Israel while disparaging the views on Israel held by their opponents. They will not trouble our “one-track minds” with matters they assume we care little or nothing about, such as the economy, or health care, and so on.

As always, those politicians who do so will be making a very big mistake.

Survey after survey over the years make it clear that, for better or worse, Israel is pretty far down on most Jewish voters’ list of what is important.

The latest confirmative survey was released this week. It was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

According to its findings, Torah-affirming Jewish values continue to drive us, with 84 percent of Jewish respondents putting “pursuing justice” as an important value, while 80 percent chose “caring for the widow and the orphan” ahead of other important values.

As for November’s national elections, 51 percent give priority to the economy. Below that, 15 percent think the big issue is the growing gap between the rich and the poor; 10 percent put health care first; tied at four percent are national security and concern for Israel; Iran comes in at two percent, and at the bottom of the pile at one percent each are the issues that drive the conservative base – environment, immigration, same-sex marriage, and abortion.

As for the presidential race, 62 percent said they would vote to re-elect President Barack Obama, with only 30 percent saying they prefer a Republican in the White House. These are virtually the identical numbers as existed at this time four years ago.

Of course, Jews care about the security of Israel, but they are not fooled by the rhetoric that one party or one person is better than another party or person in this regard. Social concerns -Jewish values, if you will – continue to drive Jewish voters.

The candidates who speak to those values will find willing listeners.