September 27th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Breaking Yom Kippur fast, American Jews talk Obama, Netanyahu

By Dana Garrett, CNN

(CNN) - As Jews gathered together at sundown Wednesday to break the Yom Kippur fast, in some homes it wasn’t just food that was being shared, but also opinion on the rising tension between the leaders of the United States and Israel over the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke Thursday before the U.N. General Assembly in New York, has been pressing the U.S. administration to establish a clear “red line” that, if crossed by Iran, would signal military intervention.

President Barack Obama has rejected that idea, saying there’s still time for sanctions to work while insisting that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

The two leaders were in New York this week for the annual gathering of world leaders, but Obama declined to meet with his Israeli counterpart.

For Carol Barash, an educator and an Obama supporter who hosted a break fast at her South Orange, New Jersey home, the president was justified in not meeting Netanyahu. She said the Israeli prime minister is acting like a bully and that “the United States can’t be pushed around by anyone.”

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The tough talk comes amid and, some have argued, because of a close presidential race in which Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney want to appeal to Jewish voters.

Jews make up about 2% of the U.S. population. In some years, because of their high voter turnout, they have made up more than 2% of the electorate. Their votes could be critical in a key state like Florida, where Jews make up 4.6% of the population.

At Barash’s break fast and another such meal in New Jersey on Wednesday night, the opinions about Netanyahu’s red lines fell, not surprisingly, along party lines.

For Arthur Schechner, a Republican Romney supporter in West Orange, New Jersey, Obama is not taking the Iranian threat seriously enough, likening Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a “mad dog” in Israel’s backyard.

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"Netanyahu is right. He has a problem on his hands of major, major proportions and he needs some help,” he said at the break fast at his home, which included about 30 guests for a sit-down meal.

Schechner says Obama should have met with the Israeli leader in New York: “I think he should show the world that the two countries are standing toe to toe.”

Schechner’s son Michael agreed, saying the time had passed for diplomacy and sanctions. “I think it’s time for action, for something to be done.”

For Barash, who hosted about 15 guests for a light buffet meal of sandwiches, salad, challah bread and regelach, Obama’s measured approach is the right way to go. “He’s talking to everyone, he’s considering all the positions,” she said. “He certainly is not going to fire first and aim second,” she said.

Her friend Peter Shapiro, a businessman and Obama supporter, says the U.S. cannot be tolerant of Iran, but says Obama has handled the situation properly.

“He has built an international coalition, he’s succeeded in building an embargo against Iran that’s unprecedented,” Shapiro said. “He’s moved the position against Iran way further than it was when he came into office.”

Jewish voters typically vote for Democrats. In 2008, Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote. Mitt Romney has tried to capitalize on tensions between the president and Netanyahu, accusing Obama of not doing enough to help Israel.

But it may be that the increased tension is only serving to solidify the party lines. The Obama supporters at Carol Barash’s home all gave a hearty “yes” when asked if the president had been a good friend of Israel.

“It only makes me a stronger supporter of Obama because there’s so much going on in the Middle East that could explode at any second,” Barash said. “I think the most important thing for the American president right now is just to have a level head in a storm.”

She says Obama has shown that he’s willing to act, when necessary, “but he’s not going to escalate this to a crisis just because Romney and Netanyahu are trying to goad him. And I think that’s good, I think that’s what we need.”

While Israel is not the top priority in who gets his vote, Peter Shapiro said it was a factor and that his support of Israel leads him to support the President. “I think Obama has the right course of action, the right policies for Israel’s long term survival…as a democratic and Jewish state.”

For Schechner, the Romney supporter, the Republican candidate will be a stronger political ally to Israel: “He has pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem the first day of his presidency. I hope that what he says he will carry out.”

His dad, Arthur, says he’ll vote Republican because his No.1 concern is the economy, but hopes Romney will also be a closer friend to Israel. “Obama has not been a good friend to Israel so I’m anxious to give someone else a chance.”

With that, Schechner offered up a piece of advice perhaps both the Israeli and U.S. leaders could use. “A wise word,” he said, “is no substitute for a good piece of pickled herring.”

–CNN's Poppy Harlow contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Judaism • Politics

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Sam Yaza

    dude the Israel is no different then Germany in WW2


    September 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      how can any one support this, i guess it proves how evil your god really is

      September 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  2. James

    Netanyahu knows that the Jewish lobby is very strong and he is trying to force Obama's hand and get the U.S. involved in yet another Middle East misadventure. Americans are tired of watching their young men and women die overseas and Americans want domestic issues to take precedence over everything else. Obama is the right leader for America right now and he knows diplomacy is the way to solve problems not war.

    September 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  3. sam yaza

    we should never allow human rights violations such as attempted genocide.
    freedom to Philistine the true tribe of Judea, Christ people.

    September 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • truth be told

      Philistine?There is no Philistine and no Philistine peoples existing any more. That race died out thousands of years ago.

      September 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      no they are there.
      they have always been there
      Israel lies


      September 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Israel kills Americans


      September 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  4. Rags

    Although I did not read all the chatter regarding this item, I will say that President Obama has much more intel than does the President of Israel. That having been said, I will abide by the intelligence of President Obama and let hi decide.

    September 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  5. Glog Mediator

    Jesus Christ! Netanyahu belongs in Hollywood with all his theatrical talent! If Israel wants to attack Iran they should go for it – alone! They can spill their own precious children's blood this time and not expect the rest of the world to spill theirs for Israel's call and beckoning as they have done in the past. It is time for these Israeli extremists to accept the fact they are really not God's chosen people and open their borders with their poorer and dis-advantaged neighbors. Stop the hate against everybody who isn't a rich Jew and join the rest of humanity!

    September 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      You clearly are letting your anti-semitism blind you to the current situation in the middle east.

      1. A nuclear iran is dangerous to the entire world, not just Israel. If Israel attacks them alone, it could be very bloody and not even solve the problem.

      2. Is the jews who think they are the chosen people, not the israeli's, and yes there is a difference,

      3. Every time the israelis have opened the borders even a little bit, terrorists come into the city and blow up buses, buildings and people. The israeli's aren't blocking their boarders because they are greedy, its for protection.

      4. The Israeli's are not completely blameless but you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Ruby

      @Concerned Citizen: Moatly I like what you are saying but would like to qualify one thing: it is not so much the Jews who think they are the chosen people as it is the Chrisitians who say the Jews are the Chosen.
      The Israelis are being rather heavy handed in their dealings with Iran but then, considering their situation, it's hard to fault them for it.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen


      Actually, jews believe they are the chosen people, it's inherent in the religion. Circu.mcision, the exodus story, etc... all of the old testament involves the jews being the chosen people of the god and jews accept that and believe it is their duty to bring gods light to the world.

      It sounds arrogant and stuck up, but then again consider that every religion believes they are right and everyone else is wrong and that they have a special relationship with their god that heathens don't understand.

      September 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  6. AvdBerg

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor 2:15).

    September 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Vinz Clortho, theologian

      Here is the most appropriate and truthful scripture:

      "He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the Rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveler came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the Third Reconciliation of the Last of the Meketrex Supplicants, they chose a new form for him, that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of a Sloar that day, I can tell you!" Zool 3:51-14

      September 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      No, this would bthe most appropraite and unimpeachable:

      "And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying,
      'O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thine
      enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.' And the Lord did grin, and the people
      did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans
      and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and large chu . . . And the Lord spake, saying, 'First shalt thou take out the
      Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shalt
      be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be
      three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting
      that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number
      three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand
      Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall
      snuff it.'

      Armaments, Chapter Two, verses Nine to Twenty-one

      September 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows whoever wrote that mess was high as a kite. St John the Dope Addict, evidently..

      September 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  7. Whatever

    So they get religious for a couple days, and they come out with political demands? They are like the churches of the religious right, where the sermon is on how to vote.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • I know them in real life

      I am a family member of the Schechners... they're very Jewish, bud.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  8. Shawn Irwin

    If Nut&Yahoo wants something done about Iran, perhaps he should first let the UN inspect HIS nukes. This is like Al Capone calling John Dillinger a criminal.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jack

      Only an idiot fails to see the distinction. If Israel has nuclear weapons, as most suspect, they have likely had them for about 50 years, and never once threatened to bomb another country. At most they have hinted that they would not allow themselves to be exterminated without retribution. This is the definition of a 'defensive weapon' or 'defensive threat'. The situation is entirely different with Iran,which consistently refers to Israel as a 'one bomb state' and a country which will soon be 'wiped off the map'. In addition to making threats which clearly suggest their willingness to use a nuclear bomb, Iran has sponsored an army that is perched on Israel's northern border and which has engaged in countless bombings and two full wars with Israel. Because of the threats and proven hostile behavior, Iran cannot be trusted with a nuclear bomb the same way that a country like Israel can, who doesn't bomb countries that haven't bombed Israel first, and NEVER threatens to nuke anyone. You cannot be blind to this fact unless you are incurably stupid, or more likely, incurably prejudiced.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • joe

      Arrogance plane and simple arrogance. When the United Nations seized land from Palestine to " create " the state of Israel Jews (Vatican City ) a gift as humans to try to right the wrongs of the holocaust. Instead of being humble , grateful or getting along with your neighbors and thanking them. This gift was not good enough and you / Jews decided to slap all involved in the face and started to seize more land because the bible said you were the " chosen people and it was written in the bible this was your land " after abandoning these land for whatever reason hundreds of years past. ( for all we know this was written by some hippie on drugs/poppy seed.) This self centered , egotistical mentality/stupidity has gotten this religion no where . We are back to square one previous to this uproar The world had to deal with another egotistical self centered maniac Hitler that built ovens to try to exterminate this religion. Now we have another Maniac who wants to obtain the evil of all evil weapons, if he does not already have it , to confront your arrogant stupidity. Jews brought this on themselves you can deal with this situation on your own. And as a American jew you need to ask yourselves if you are an American or a Jew first.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs^!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  10. Hell No, We Won't Go !

    Yeah, right, another war in the Middle East. What a great idea that's been for us.

    It is ALWAYS a really bad idea to get entangled in the Middle East. If Nuttyyahoo wants a war, let him do it. Fine. Demanding we get lots of Americans killed and a huge increase in national debt for his agenda? Fuck that.

    Getting involved in the Middle East was one of the dumbest mistakes of the W years (and there were many dumb mistakes in competition for the honor). Why do it again?

    September 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      Because unlike W pretending Saddam had nukes, Iran is flagrantly yelling that they will have nukes soon and once they do, they will use them. You are right that getting embroiled in another ME conflict is a foolish endeavor but what's worse? Going into the ME and stopping Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities or sitting back and watch Iran hold the world hostage until they get their outrageous demands?

      September 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  11. hippypoet

    belief itself isn't a bad thing. i can say that honestly and believe those words. any belief that makes one want to be a better person is a grand belief to be sure! however, the belief in something unpovable full heartedly is what i find to be disconcerting. the real issue with religion is when those that believe full heartedly run a country or when the majority of the cizitens are religious. For as we all know, the majority make the rule. wether it be thru having more votes or greater numbers in your army the idea is the same, strength in numbers! But when this is the case what you get is oppession.

    any religiously ran government is an oppressive one. All religions state what people should, should not, can, and can not do and even at times religions state when one should do these things. it is in its most basic function a form of social control that warps the mind of the creature being controlled so that the end result is a person who willin
    gly acts in accordance to that very same oppressive government thereby making the government appear to be not controlling at all.

    it is a very nice trick, but aren't tricks for children?
    should we not grow up?
    are dreams really worth giving reality up?
    how is a hope greater then knowledge?
    why aren't other things taken at face value with the same "faith"?
    if anything then at least shouldn't the tenets of your faith be adhered to and be upheld?
    should you stone your own children because they were dissrespectful to you?
    should you kill those of differing cultures or beliefs because they have differing cultures and beliefs?
    would you allow those that survive YOUR jihad to be enslaved and turned into property?
    should women be viewed as property and treated as such?
    how many commandments do you follow and how many do you think there are?
    shouldn't the followers of the abrahamic faith know the answers to these questions?
    was hope greater then knowledge?
    did the dream live up to its reality?

    food for thought.

    September 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Reality

    Saw this some years ago on another blog:

    "American Muslims agree to leave the United States in a one-for-one exchange for Jews from Israel. Problem solved!"

    And considering 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have concluded that as far as one knows or can tell Abraham and Moses did not exist gives added credence for leaving the no longer "holy" land. ...

    September 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT
      Abrahams grave is in Israel right where the Bible says it was.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Reality

      Abraham's grave is simply more legend just as is Abraham, at age 100 and Sarah, at age 90 having a child.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  13. travolta_stinks

    If Netanyahu wants war, I say go for it. Israel doesn't need our help. They are plenty powerful enough. Those billions we give them in aid sure helps.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  14. confused tim

    The liberals Jews (and others) realize that the radical (in control) Arabs don't want peace with the Jews? They want to wipe them from the face of the earth. Their hands will glow in front of Allah if they kill a Jew. You think Obama is handling the Middle East well? I'll have what you are drinking. The Muslim Brotherhood believe God has commanded them for global Islamic domination. Jordan is next, then Saudi Arabia. Think about how long the US has left if it doesn't stand in the gap for radical Islam (as opposed to non-Sharia Islam). Read Martin Niemoller and think.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      A hindu Jew criminal self centered secular does not deserve to be among civilized people, who will like a hindu Jew self centered, a hindu criminal by faith around him? none but of his own kind, a hindu Jew's criminal self centered, hindered low life Jew's do not deserve to be free, but with their own kind, hindu, murderers under ground or in Jails. Word Jew is based on Hebrew word yehood, meaning self centered, denier of truth absolute or a criminal. To learn more visit limitisthetruth,com and click on word Choice on website to open file.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      hinduism ignorance of a hindu, ignorant, Allah means truth absolute same as Hebrew's, not Jew's called Ellah, the same truth absolute. You must be a hindu ignorant follower of hindu Mithra sim, savior ism labeled as Christianity.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • joe


      September 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  15. libtards will always be libtards

    The nation of Israel has every right to exist and defend itself.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Just like we have the right to seek the annihilation of Israel

      September 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I'm not sure who rose "WE" seeking annihilation of Israel are but it should be clear that those seeking annihilation of others should and will be annihilated.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Smith

      It is allah Vs. Almighty God and satan will lose .

      September 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      there is no nation of Israel but hindu' pagans of Egypt and Persia pretending to be Israelite to hind, fool humanity. Take your Pandora box and hind fool some one hindu, ignorant.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Cleo

      Netanyahu can start any war he wants. However, the U.S. does NOT have to give in to his bullying ~ going on "60 Minutes" like he is some arrogant American politican!

      Someone said that "we stand toe-to-toe with Israel. Yes, toe-to-toe at this point ~ not "side-by-side." Bibi, tend to your own backyard and leave us to try to tend to our own problems; which are vast, at this point.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Cleo

      @Smith ~ I thought Allah and god were the same being? One god...

      September 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Aluminum Foil Hat-Wearers And Other Conservative Dingbats Of The World, Untie!

      The nation of Nazi Germany has every right to exist and defend itself!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  16. hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

    Back to hinduism, illegality after atonement with truth absolute, way of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, denier's of truth absolute secular s, not just to hind cheat humanity but also the truth absolute God. Way of hindu Jew's, criminal secular s to hind fool, justified not by truth absolute but hindu Judaism filthy self center ism to please their hindu soul, desire like a hindu hungry dog. To learn more visit limitisthetruth,com and click on word Choice on website to open file.

    September 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Cleo

      WHAT!?? What are you babbling about??

      September 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  17. TJ

    Do you have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confused with Benjamin Netanyahu?

    September 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  18. Portland tony

    I would think the last thing the Israelis would want is the US involved in their foreign policy. We are committed to their survival and will use any and all weapons, economic or military, in that effort. That's as involved as we want to be!

    September 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  19. old ben

    Agreed. this Netanyahu is a pompous jerktard of the highest order. Dangerous to all.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • old ben

      Oh – that was a reply to William, actually.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Old Ben... Did you disagree with something Netanyahu have said? If so WHAT WAS IT?

      September 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  20. William Demuth

    If Obama lets Bibi drag us into war, he shall lose lots of supporters.

    If the Jews crave war they can start it, and fight it, on their own.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Can you explain the reasons the Jews would possibly be "craving for war", William? Do you have any reasons to believe that the Jews like to be killed and maimed?

      September 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i wouldn't say Jews most Jews are against the actions Israel is doing in Philistine, but Israel is definitely craving war. or craving eradication of Evey non Jew in the world to bring forth there one thousand year kingdom of Zion, indecently there are Christians and Muslims doing the same. ever one wants to build Zion, and it means the death of ever one else, the only real solace i have is the knowledge, that they hate each other if they were to unite god by; Pagans, Hindus, Atheist/agnostics, and Buddhist

      September 28, 2012 at 6:33 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.