Leading Jewish Republicans Hail Reagan’s Choice of Bush As His Vice Presidential Running Mate

Jewish Republicans who have been in the fore front of the campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush for the highest office in the land enthusiastically hailed Presidential nominee Reagan’s choice of Bush as his running mate and predicted today that this combination is sure to triumph in the national elections next November.

Industrialist Gordon Zacks of Columbus, Ohio, who was an early supporter of Bush’s primary campaign for the Presidential nomination and served as his national vice chairman of finance and deputy chairman of his national political campaign, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

“For the sake of the country, the free world and the State of Israel, Ronald Reagan has selected the most qualified candidate. I commend his judgement. I am confident that the ticket of Reagan and Bush will go on to victory in November.”

Los Angeles attorney Albert Spiegel, who, with financier Theodore Cummings, also of Los Angeles, has been among Reagan’s chief supporters, said he was pleased with the choice of Bush as the Vice Presidential candidate. Noting that the Jewish community in general is liberal on certain issues, Spiegel said “Bush’s position on issues is closer in his feelings to the (Jewish) community than some others who were under consideration for Vice President.”

BUSH IS STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF ISRAEL

In announcing to the convention late last night that former President Gerald Ford would not be his running mate and that Bush would, Reagan said of his erstwhile primaries rival that Bush “can support the platform across the board.”

In his campaign for the Presidential nomination, Bush had expressed strong support for Israel’s security but he would not advocate moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The GOP platform says “Republicans believe Jerusalem should remain an undivided city with continued free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths.”

Bush, who was a Presidential hopeful during the Republican primaries but who was defeated, made it clear during his bid that he was a staunch friend of Israel. In one of his strongest statements on the issue he told some 40 Jewish leaders at meeting sponsored by the American Jewish Committee last October that Israel must be kept strong and its security must never be traded for oil.

Bush, a former Ambassador to the United Nations, also said he continued to believe that the U.S. has “special relations” with Israel. He also affirmed that he opposes any negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, claiming that the U.S. credibility as on ally would diminish if it reversed its position on the PLO.

CLOSE ATTENTION TO JEWISH VOTERS

An indication of the Republican leadership’s close attention to Jewish voters, primarily in the crucial New York State elections, was evidenced last night by the selection of New York State National Committeeman Richard Rosenbaum of Rochester to be the first of 12 delegates who spoke as seconders of Reagan’s nomination.

Officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who were active at the Republican convention and will be also at the Democratic convention in New York next month, said their survey showed that of the 1994 delegates at the GOP convention here, 93, close to five percent, are Jewish. Another survey by the JTA indicated that Jews are among the members of 26 state delegations and the District of Columbia.

According to sources that closely followed the convention’s nuances, a major reason for the collapse at the last minute of Reagan’s effort to have Ford as his running mate was Ford’s insistence that if the Reagan-Ford ticket won, Henry Kissinger would again be Secretary of State. Reagan, fully aware of the intense opposition to Kissinger in the GOP’s for right-wing, led by Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, felt he could not accept Ford’s condition for joining him. Reagan was quoted as saying, “I cannot barter away the Presidency.”

BUSH SEEN AS SECOND BEST CHOICE

In interviews with Jewish delegates by the JTA, who were available after Reagan’s selection of Bush, most comments welcomed the GOP team. In general, many had backed Rep. Jack Kemp of New York who is highly regarded as on enthusiastic friend of Israel and an advocate of freedom for Soviet Jewry.

Many Jewish delegates had also strongly supported Ford even though in his administration in 1975, with Kissinger as Secretary of State, the U.S. threatened a “reassessment” of its support of Israel at a time when it felt Israel was not being “flexible” in Washington’s efforts for an Arab-Israeli settlement.

While not the first choice for Vice President among many Jewish delegates, Bush is seen by virtually all those interviewed as the second best choice. In discussing this phase of the convention, a delegate who asked not to be mentioned by name observed that “Bush has pluses and minuses insofar as the Jewish people are concerned.” Another delegate remarked, “He isn’t the darling of the conservatives” and that “Bush is perceived more liberal than Kemp on issues.” One delegate maintained that Bush “will be a healing force in the country and a great source of comfort and reassurance to Israel.”

Rosenbaum told the JTA: “There is warm feeling for Ford and Kemp but also good feeling generally about Bush. I know of no negative feeling about Bush. He ran a good campaign as for as we’re concerned.”

REACTIONS BY DELEGATES

Aaron Schocher, a Brooklyn lawyer and member of the New York delegation who supported Reagan in 1976 and 1980, said he did not favor Bush on the ticket, but “I have no choice.” He added, “I hope Reagan can control Bush and if he does I will go along. Otherwise, I will be disappointed.” Schocher said he saw Bush as “an extreme rightist.”

But Judith Hirschman, a Realtor from Washington township near Dayton, Ohio, said “I sure am satisfied with Bush.” Mrs. Hirschman supported Reagan in the Republican primaries.

Tennessee delegate David H. Balloff, of Knoxville, a 25-year-old grandson of a Russian immigrant who founded a chain of retail stores in eastern Tennessee, said he was “very happy” and “very impressed” with Reagan because Reagan had to “broaden his base” and Bush does it.

Stanley Cohen, an independent oil investor from Corpus Christi, Texas, said he had favored Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar for Vice President because of the party’s need to strengthen itself in the “upper Midwest.” But Cohen said, “I have no problems with the ticket.”

Gerald Goldman, a Passaic lawyer and member of the New Jersey delegation, said the selection of Bush “makes no difference to me. Whoever Reagan would have selected would have been okay.”

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