Daily Events Under Feature

Santorum: America must stand with Israel

Santorum: America must stand with Israel

The man who finished second in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination for president to former Massachusetts governor W. Mitt Romney spoke to Human Events from Israel’s West Bank on the second day of his Aug. 18 to 21 trip to the Holy Land.

Former Pennsylvania senator Richard J. Santorum said he had come close to Gaza that morning as Hamas broke another ceasefire there with a barrage of rocket attacks.

“The ceasefire was to end last night at midnight. It was extended for another 24 hours, but Hamas has just broken that. I assume that the prospects were not looking good, and so they decided to fire these three rockets, now a fourth,” he said.

“Had you talked to me four hours ago, we would have been very close,” said Santorum, who is actively building the foundation for his 2016 run for the White House.

“We are now actually in the West Bank, so we’re farther north and I think pretty much out of harm’s way, but depending on whether they have rockets that can reach this far. We’re not in the zone right now, where the rockets actually taking place,” he said.

“Everything was calm. We have since headed back to Jerusalem and have been getting alerts. I think now the fourth rocket was launched about two minutes before we called you,” he said. “When you get these alerts–I get them on my phone–You look to see where they are and they close.”

As it watches these attacks, America must lead the world in standing with Israel, Santorum said.

“This is reality and for the international community and for America not to stand behind Israel and say that we need to give them the support they need to expunge this threat is unconscionable,” he said. “That’s really the big thing here.”

Santorum said it is a tragedy that in this moment, when the Arabs states are ready to make comment cause with Israel against Islamic extremism, President Barack Obama is content to let the moment pass away unexploited.

“The Saudis, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, in particular, are looking at Iran and looking at Hamas and looking at the Muslim Brotherhood and looking at ISIL,” he said.

“The fact that the president doesn’t see the world as it is, with radical Islam, being the principle threat to the stability and peace of this region and to the world, is making it very, very difficult for Israel and even those in the Arab world who would like to radical Islam expunged,” he said.

The next president takes over in 2017, but it could be too late, he said. “There’s an opportunity here, and we have a president who is missing it.”

Santorum, who made the trip with members of National Religious Broadcasters, including Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur and NRB President Jerry A. Johnson Jr.

The NRB tour group visited religious sites and met with Israeli government officials.

But, as they traveled around the group noted a drop-off in tourism, which is a major economic factor in Israel, he said.

“We were in the Holy City yesterday, in Jerusalem, and we were places like the City Of David excavation and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall,” he said.

“Aside from the Western Wall, which of course had a number of Orthodox Jews there, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the place of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, was literally empty,” he said. “We were the only people there. Most of the time, it’s a two or three-hour wait to get through a lot of these places.”

The big factor in the drop off in tourists was the FAA’s July 22 Notice to Airmen advising private air traffic to avoid Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. The FAA renewed the warning July 24, but then after being hit with a wave of criticism, canceled the notice that day.

The author of “American Voices” said the FAA warning scared American tourists into cancelling their trips and even after the warning was lifted, no one rescheduled.

“I can tell you that certainly Jerusalem is outside the area where the rocket attacks are taking place. It’s a perfectly safe place to go,” he said.

Everywhere the tour group went, Santorum said the Israelis were happy to see them. “To some degree their enthusiasm was because of the concern they have about our president and the lack of support that he has shown for Israel during this time.”

But, in the face of their troubles, the Israelis continue to press on, he said. It is the real “Stay Calm and Carry On” attitude as Santorum describes it.

“I have tell you the one thing that’s really striking is how people just go on with their lives here,” he said. “The country is at war, but the country has to produce economically. People have to get up and go to work. If the alarms go off, they jump out of their workplace, they take shelter, and then they get back to work.”

Part of that carrying on is possible to the Iron Dome, the indirect fire defense system developed with the help of the United States, he said. Iron Dome calculates a rocket’s point-of-impact and only intercepts rockets bound for serious targets.

“They go to a bunker or to a location, wherever people are in that region. When we went into that region, we were told that our procedure was wherever we were and if the alarm goes off, they would know what to do,” he said.

“You have to steel yourself. You have to understand that you play an important role, whether you’re the waiter at the restaurant or the garbage man or the bus driver,” he said.

“That’s the kind of attitude that makes countries survive,” he said.

Sign Up
DISQUS COMMENTS

FACEBOOK COMMENTS

Comment with Facebook