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July 27th, 2012
10:33 PM ET

What's at stake for Romney in Israel

By Tom Foreman and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

(CNN)—Mitt Romney will be glad handing and photo opping in Israel until Monday during the second leg of the presumptive GOP nominee's international campaign trip.

It is unmistakably aimed, in part, at a traditional Democratic voting bloc: Jewish Americans who are politically active in fundraising, campaigning and voting.

"I think Mitt Romney is going to Israel certainly to court the Jewish vote," said Randall Balmer, the chairman of the religion department at Dartmouth College and author of "God in the White House."

"It's definitely sending a message that Israel is important for Romney, that he, he has warm feelings about Israel, that he cares about Israel," said Nathan Guttman, a Washington correspondent for the Jewish Daily Forward. "It's sort of important for this kind of a Jewish electorate. But again, we should keep in mind that this is the minority of Jewish voters."

He added, "Most of them are Obama voters to start with; they won't be swayed by it; they don't really care much."

But Romney may have an even larger voting bloc in mind during his trip.

"The constituency he wants to impress is the evangelicals, people who have an unequivocal support for Israel," Balmer said. "This is the constituency that was quite suspicious of him in the course of the primaries, and in may ways he hasn't fully won them over."

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

Meanwhile, President Obama appears to be trying to undercut the impact of the visit with either faction of the Jewish vote.

The White House released another $70-million in military aid for Israel on Friday, saying it underlines the president's "unshakeable commitment" to that American ally.

Much has been made over perceived chilly relations between the Obama administration and the current administration in Israel.

The president won the vast majority of votes by Jewish Americans in 2008. A recent Gallup Daily tracking poll showed registered Jewish voters preferred Obama 68% to 25% over Romney.

Several conservative activists have told CNN that Romney's trip to Israel is an important step in trying to strengthen his support among evangelicals and conservatives. The activists say that the trip will help reassure them about the former governor of Massachusetts.

Romney has struggled to win over many social conservatives who felt that his past positions on social issues were too liberal and many evangelicals who raised theological concerns over Romney's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Countless Christian evangelicals are indeed staunch supporters of Israel, citing a Biblical kinship with the Jewish nation.

Their interest in Israel's well-being has motivated a number of Republican contenders to visit the Holy Land and speak out for Israeli rights.

One key group is Christians United for Israel, which has more than a million members and politically conservative leaders who have expressed disappointment over Obama's sometimes tense relationship with Israel.

"American Christians, Americans in general, are going to want to see Governor Romney treat Israel and treat Prime Minister Netanyahu with a respect and an appreciation," said Christian United for Israel's Executive Director David Brog. "Many of us feel (that respect) has not been present, has been lacking in the current administration."

"Unlike other issues, this issue is still in play," Brog continued. "When it comes to the issue of foreign policy, and when it come to the issue of how a president will deal with our ally Israel and our struggle with radical Islam, people are still waiting for information, minds are still open. And this is where governor can influence voters and pick up significant support."

Some Christians, known as Christian Zionists, believe that the Jews' return to Israel, which became a Jewish state in 1948, is a sign of the approaching Rapture, when the righteous will ascend to heaven while others are left behind.

Background: Mideast action at U.N. casts spotlight on Christian Zionism

The Rapture, many evangelicals believe, will usher in an apocalyptic period that will culminate in Jesus' return. Some Christians believe that keeping Israel in Jewish hands will help expedite that scenario.

Activists, academics and religious believers disagree about how such apocalyptic thinking may affect Christian support for Israel.

Many other Christians and Jews see such a scenario as a radical interpretation of scripture. Brog dismisses the notion that theology about the end times could boost support of Israel. "This is simply one of those urban myths," he said.

Still, it all raises the stakes on Romney's Israeli visit; making it clear this trip will be closely watched by American voters on both the left and the right.

CNN's Dan Gilgoff and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism • TV-The Situation Room

soundoff (761 Responses)
  1. joe

    I understand he's inviting all the Israeli leaders to a Pork Barbecue at the American Embassy next Friday evening at sun down.

    July 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      LOL!!

      July 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      I would much rather have one of thos giant IDF sausages thrusting my rump roast. ummm ummmm gooood.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      i can feel the warm juice cursing thorugh my happy loins

      July 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  2. HeavenSent

    The end of days taught in Jesus' truth is nothing new to Christians. You athiests spew hatred for Jesus and it is just another rock. Nothing new under the sun. I can't find my lady parts. You insist on your lies having wings to flly but you are still a pigeon. The entire MO behind the atheist is to throw out as many lies and see what sticks. Debating is the atheists game.

    Amen.

    July 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Cherub

    Israelis, let me ask you these questions:
    – Did the Romney-led outsourcing of American jobs strengthen or weaken your most important ally?
    – Do you still remember that Romney said in his 2008 campaign that he did not care about going after Osama Bin Laden?

    July 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • harpo

      I love that the a.s.ses of the self righteous are so eager to be shared.

      I would match my shallow knowledge of a.s.s-play against yours any other day. If you had my retarded education your posts would be less than the “chicken nugget routine” and have some fict.itious thought involved, plus the odds are poor that I would know someone else.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  4. Cindy

    Romney should not have any problems in Israel, as the Israelies have already bought and paid for him through Sheldon Adelson.

    July 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I am reminded of how the Miami Dolphins bought and paid for Left Tackle Jake Long PRIOR to the 2008 draft. Great move!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Gideon Asche

      you might consoder looking into that, Adleson dreoppped his support of the GOP whan Uncle BB made the declaration that Obama was the best friend Israel has ever had in the whitehouse and asked all american jews to support Obama. 90% of us will vote with Israel (even those who won't admit it)

      Israel is well aware of the anti-Semetic side of Romney and his church. You want an OH S@@T moment? look close at tehd great seal of the united states and see if you can find the ONLY religious symbol used in any official emblem of the republic. (here is a hint, play connect the dots with the 13 stars) It is there by design.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • harpo

      @Gideon

      I would "consoder" an education you retard.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Gideon Asche

      @ Harpo is that really the best you can do? a simple typo?
      you are dumber than the guy you are pretending to be.
      why Is knowledge such anathema to your kind?

      July 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  5. ChristardMingle.com

    I’ve been LDS all my life and yes we do have relations with our children it is the way it was intended. and who else is going to tech the little ones to swallow if we bishops don’t?

    July 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • harpo

      I will tech them, whatever that is.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I am reminded of the feirce quarterback competi.tions waged by Joe Montana and Steve Young in San Francisco. In the end, Montana went to the Cheifs and Young won a Super Bowl for the 49ers. Classic!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      I see you have been through the training, "Go Moroni....."

      July 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    You athiests need to humble yourself and ask Jesus for forgiveness. I smell like sick. Jesus told us he would give you reprobate minds.

    "After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears..."

    Satan's lies causes confusion and causes atheists write this garbage. Satan is death.

    Amen.

    July 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • joe

      I think you're really one of the writers for SNL and you're trying to see just how far you can go before we catch on.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • heavenSent

      @joe

      You are correct. But please don't catch on yet.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      SO you think Romney should go into Israel and preach Jesus? That would be the best stupid thing he has yet to do. I can't wait to see how fast he makes a fool of himself in Israel. He had all of England hating him in less than 24 hours. Too bad Republicans can't see through Romney as fast as the British People did.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @BeverlyNC

      You believe in the man-made lies of the talmud.Pathetic. You blame it on the Christians for having the guts to tell idiots God's truth. I eat moldy cheese. Typical of swines trampling over His seeds that get blown by the wind to find their way to fertile grounds.

      Amen.

      July 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  7. Mike

    This is great-
    Romney going to Jerusalem to explain that native Americans are a lost tribe of Israel . . .

    July 28, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  8. Mitt the Twit

    This is my strap on, there are many like it but this one is mine. Vote for me and I will share it with you.

    July 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      This country elected B-movie actor Ronald Reagan for two terms who then ran up the largest budget deficit in history and sold arms to Iran. Don't even get me started on his policy regarding HIV/AIDS.

      This country elected a mentally challenged George Bush not once, but twice who increased debt spending over 5 Trillion and oversaw the collapse of the banks. Don't even get me started on Iraq and Katrina.

      If this country will vote for these two dip-sh.its, they will vote for ANYBODY.

      Folks, it is time to push the GOP, Big Business, Big religion and special interests OUT and take back what is ours. Keep Obama in the white house, fill the seats with Dems. VOTE and don't be afraid to debate with friends and family. The time to be PC is over, it is time to speak out!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      This site is solely none profit.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • hey

      Choke to death on a flaming dick, you spamming cunt!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      @hey

      How dare you talk like that! Keep it clean fuk wad!!

      July 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      That was not the fake ChristardMingle.com

      July 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  10. harpo

    The moremen cult is no different than the Jehovah’s witlesses and Mooners, heavens door, or the Jimmy Dean cult all have a true false prophet who claimed to have an old revelation, (too bad they didn't read the first chapter of the last one) and had enough of a healthy mind that they needed to figure out a way to remove water sports as part of the cult!

    8th day subtractventist ignore the scriptures, they have a different disease but they are christards. Morons are no more christarn than been laiden was. And this a.s.s-slapping erect Jews and claiming them a poormens is an insult to any unreasonable person. But please worry, Cresentroll will never allow an anti-Semen in the whyhouse.

    July 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • zIONIsT

      that was the mormon harpo not the real one.... I didnt know they would let two people use the same name.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • harpo

      That was the moron harpo not the fake one.... I didnt know they would let two retards use the same name.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  11. easyrhino

    Odigo 9/11
    Dancing Israelis
    Dr. Alan Sabosky Israel
    Dominick Suter Urban Moving Systems
    Pollard

    The list goes on. Israel is not an ally of the USA

    July 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • SpearmintRhino

      Woooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooo!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  12. karmim

    religion should be abolished one day as it is full BS,,, and coming generations after us one day will be very surprised how retarded our current generation and the generations before us had been who believed these nonsense, period. anything that divide humanity into pieces is an illusion. One day we should grow out of it and explore the reality on our own,,,

    July 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      they abolished paganism and it came back on its own, one of the first thing i learned about my self as a pagan is i was always one i just didn't know it,..looking back now i see that,.. so you cannot truly rid the world o belief in what you call nonsense

      July 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Ransom

      One of the many delusions atheists believe.Atheism is a religion by itself.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Al Freeman

      "God is dead!" – Nietzsche.

      "Nietzsche is dead." – God.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Ransom is retarded. By definition, athiesm is the absence of religion. Athiests don't group together, they are individuals.

      "... refer to persons not inclined toward religious belief or a particular form of religious belief."

      July 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      not necessarily Atheism is the absence of a god not a
      Details of belief as taught or discussed
      the big bang evolution although is most likely possible, it is a belief when you say it is absolutely true the belief in theory as true is a belief and when you teach or talk about it, it then becomes religion then you become close minded in the theory and of what you hold to be true,.... for instance if i say the name Immanuel Velikovsky you scoff even though evidence of his theory you claim false has grown immensely, it hearts your dogma it kinda like heresy isn't it the belief in theory of the absolute witch allot of atheist do is religion, and a religion where not being religious is dogma

      i think thats what the cretin was saying

      July 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      here is both atheist blasphemy and Christian blasphemy, finding science in myth mister

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2NoGLSsg-w

      July 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  13. Comparative Mythology 101

    Horus: Egyptian, 6000 BC
    Dionysus: Greek, 1500 BC
    Attis: Greek, 1200 BC
    Mithra: Zoroastrian, 600 BC
    Krishna: Hindu, 400 BC
    Jesus: Christian, 30 AD
    A) Born on Dec. 25 – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus (by way of plagiarizing a Pagan holiday
    B) Virgin Birth – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
    C) Sign of Star in the East – Horus, Krishna, Jesus
    D) Adorned by 3 Kings – Horus, Jesus
    E) Teacher at age 12 – Horus, Mithra, Jesus
    F) Ministry started at 30 – Horus, Jesus
    G) 12 Disciples – Horus, Mithra, Jesus
    H) Traveled with Disciples Performing Miracles – Horus, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
    I) AKA The Truth, the Light, God’s Shepherd – Horus, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus
    J) Betrayed – Horus, Jesus
    K) Crucified – Horus, Attis, Jesus
    L) Buried 3 days – Horus, Attis, Mithra, Jesus
    M) Resurrected – Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra, Jesus

    July 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • harpo

      do yo have a source for that data, ?

      July 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      J) Betrayed – Horus, Jesus
      K) Crucified – Horus, Attis, Jesus

      ad Mithra in these two he was Betrayed by the Taros he disciples were named after the zodiac and he killed the Taros after he turned him into the Romans this is what his mural depicts, he was tried for being a rebel rouser and trying to lead an insurrection against Rome, he was crucified for it,.. that why people call him the rebel Christ he lead a revolt by teaching the lowest cast,

      July 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Comparative Mythology 101

      I am Influenced by mythologist Joseph Campbell and I hold a Masters and PHD in Mythological Studies. Will that do?

      July 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      nice we have the same degree,.. that cant get you a job,...but it helps when you make fun of people for their ignorance in belief ehh

      July 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Comparative Mythology 101

      @Sam

      Yes it does. I like telling the Christian Retards just how truly stupid and ignorant and dangerous they are. I wish they would all go jump in giant puddle of God P.i.s.s and drown.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i like you♥

      July 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Comparative Mythology 101

      I like you too Sam!

      July 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Hey Comparative. Did you know Tarsus was a hot-bed if Mithraism ? St. Paul came from Tarsus. May I ask where you got your degree, or rather, what is the best school in the US for study of Ancient Near Eastern Myths. Am very interested in the Babylonian roots of Genesis etc.

      July 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      From Sumerian myths :
      poisonous plants, ribs, Eve, death by eating stuff, bread of heaven, water of life, plants which offer immortality, and snakes which bring about death.
      Genesis was a re-write of Marduk Slays the Dragon of Chaos.

      July 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  14. Stacey Rhoda

    Evangelical Christians love Israel, because, as the writer says, they believe the Rapture is at hand that will usher in the Apocalypse. Of course, that same Apocalypse will result in the destruction of the Jews. Not that I believe in that garbage. And if Romney ushers anything in, it'll probably be the Zombocalypse.

    July 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  15. ChristardMingle.com

    Allow me to pose a hypothesis…say that, hypothetically, I accidently slayed a pro.st.itute during an eight-ball fueled weekend of debauchery…

    I know it sounds silly but, just stick with me.

    Would a rift in space time be a good place to dispose of such a, hypothetical and now entirely lifeless body?

    You like you some science? Then you’re gonna love this! I love booty, but enough about your mom. I am here to tell you about something you’ll need in your town…

    A big-a.s.s race track for teensy little stock cars. It’s cool as hell. Show us your t.i.t.s!

    Let me build one of these in your municipality. And I ain’t sayin’ your p.ecker will grow an inch…but I ain’t not sayin’ it ain’t either!

    July 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  16. HeavenSent

    You athiests are believing the lies of satan that you will be collectively mini-gods. What you find instead is a personal worm that feeds off your fat dripping and is never quenched, for eternity. I smell like a sweaty jock strap. Do as the atheists do in this country to ensure the USA goes belly up because you are too blind to see His truth whether I write it in street language or scripture form.

    Amen.

    July 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • harpo

      awfull early to be that drunk isnt it?

      July 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @harpo

      Horrors, earth quakes, floods, disasters are God's wrath against all of us because of you fools doing evil. I save my poo in garbage bags. You smug and prideful atheists need to throw away that users manual because prayer really works.

      Amen.

      July 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Inspector Clouseau

      Does your dug bite ?
      I know where my personal worm is, thanks. HS likes to pet my worm. She's all carnal, like that.

      July 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      I thought you said your dug doesn't bite!

      July 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • harpo

      I love the assumptions the self righteous are so eager to make.

      I would match my knowledge of scripture against yours any day. If you had my theological education your posts would be more than the “chicken little routine” and have some actual thought involved, plus the odds are…. I would know you.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      @harpo

      Yes, you are so bright and educated you don't know a troll from a real poster.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • harpo

      whoo biit my dug?

      July 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • harpo

      actually I assumed it was you doing both posts trying to support your own confusion.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • harpo

      The moremen cult is no different than the Jehovah’s witlesses and Mooners, heavens door, or the Jimmy Dean cult all have a true false prophet who claimed to have an old revelation, (too bad they didn't read the first chapter of the last one) and had enough of a healthy mind that they needed to figure out a way to remove water sports as part of the cult.

      8th day subtractventist ignore the scriptures, they have a different disease but they are christards. Morons are no more christarn than been laiden was. And this a.s.s-slapping erect Jews and claiming them a poormens is an insult to any unreasonable person. But please worry, Cresentroll will never allow an anti-Semen in the whyhouse.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Denial

      Heaven Sent – sources please. And books written by men 1 to 2K years ago do not count. Think of this: if you are wrong, what a shame at all the fun and wild chicks you are missing – doh. Oh, BTW – God does not take sides. Why would she/he/it? It is mankind that takes sides and tends to want to control the minds of the masses – not God. Like the Honey Badger – God don't give a "sch-tick!"

      July 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Inspector Clouseau

      Ze Pewp bit my dug. He tried to bite back, but Ze Pewp was too fast for him.

      July 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Thank you prayer-bot. I am reminded of Tim Tebow praying to god on the sidelines and god answered. Classic!

      July 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Denial

      What went wrong in Texas early this year when Rick Perry had 60k believers in a statium praying for rain that did not come? That's a lot of believers banding into a huge broadband signal to the allmighty. Did it fail due to cloud interference? Could it be odds of prayer success being on par to winning the lottery? I believe in a higher power but that higher power really is not interested in structured religion. We are here and left to make the best of it, adapt and (OMG) – "Evolve!"

      July 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. harpo

    I want the guy with the magic underwear to explain what right the Mormon church has to Baptize dead Jewish children and heroes then claim they were Mormons?

    Who cares that he is part of a non-Christian, anti-Semetic cult that was founded for no other reason than to try to justify pedophilia under the freedom of religion clause.

    July 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • McIver3

      Harpo – If you knew anything about religion at all, you would understand that the "magic underwear" are undergarments which are viewed as a symbolic reminder of the covenants made in temple ceremonies. They are no different than say Catholic prayer beads, blessed by the Pope. Furthermore, they are Christian, because they believe in Jesus Christ. The only difference is that Mormon's story of Joseph Smith and his interpretations of God's message is a litle different. How is that any different from say the 7th Day Adventists? I"m not Mormon but know many and they are some of the nicest people I know. We would be lucky to have a Mormon President instead of a Muslim socialist.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • harpo

      The mormon cult is no different than the Jehovahs witnesses and Moonies, heavens gate, or the Jime jones cult all have a false prophet who claimed to have a new revelation, (too bad they didn't read the last chapter of the first one) and had enough af a sick mind that they needed to figure out a way to make Pedophelia part of the cult.

      7th day adventist adhere to the scriptures, they have a different interprertation but they are christian. Mormons are no more christin than bin laden was. And this baptizing dead Jews and claiming thenm a mormons is an insult to any reasonable person. Not to worry, Israel will never allow an anti-Semite in the whitehouse.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Denial

      Mclver3 – if you truely believe the POTUS is a Muslim and Socialist... then your just validate the insanity of structured religion and that Mor-on-ism is a cult. Think first before jumping into the reality water.

      July 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  19. korkea aika

    Mitt Romney overheard: Obama is a nice knee-grow, but he wants to raise my taxes. We can't have that.

    July 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • harpo

      you have been listening to too many tea party traitors.

      July 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  20. korkea aika

    Mitt Romney: The Dr. Kavorkian of the US work place

    July 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.