(JTA) — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas criticized President Barack Obama’s relationship with Israel while announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
“Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with Israel,” Cruz said during his announcement Monday at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia. He received a long round of applause for the statement.
The first announced candidate for 2016, Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. He renounced his Canadian citizenship last year, according to reports.
Cruz, whose father is an evangelical pastor, evoked God and conservatives in his announcement at Liberty.
“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” he said. “I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America, and that is why today, I’m announcing that I’m running for president of the United States.”
In September, Cruz walked out of a conference on Middle East Christians after being booed for saying Christians “have no greater ally than Israel.”
“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” he said at the time.