President Barack Obama's Record on Israel a Hot Topic in Wake of Debate, Billboards | NBC 6 South Florida
2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

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President Barack Obama's Record on Israel a Hot Topic in Wake of Debate, Billboards

Obama “has been a very unreliable steward of the America-Israel relationship," celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said in North Miami Beach Tuesday

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    Billboards around South Florida imply that President Barack Obama has been bad for Israel. Broward Democratic Party Chair Mitch Caesar, celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz discussed the president's record. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012)

    Billboards around South Florida imply that President Barack Obama has been bad for Israel – helping to stoke a local debate with just two weeks left until the election.

    One billboard, which shows an Iranian missile headed toward Israel, says “Friends don’t let friends get nuked” and adds, “Stop Obama!”

    "They simply are not telling the truth,” Mitch Caesar says.

    Caesar, who is chair of the Broward Democratic Party and is Jewish, quoted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in defense of the president.

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    Barak "has said that the relationship between this government under the Obama administration and Israel has been at the highest, strongest level ever,” Caesar said.

    But celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said that Obama “has been a very unreliable steward of the America-Israel relationship."

    Boteach, who is a Republican running for Congress in New Jersey, spoke at the Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach Tuesday.

    Israel was one of the big topics of Monday night's final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, where Obama said that the U.S. has “unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation” with the Middle Eastern country.

    "It was nice to hear, finally, President Obama saying that Israel's America's foremost ally in the region,” Boteach said. “He usually speaks of Israel as one of many allies."

    The billboards are only one part of the strategy to peel away Jewish votes from Obama. Surrogates for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are pounding the "Obama is bad for Israel" message full force.

    "Unfortunately, this president has been dismal on Israel, he has insisted on pressuring Israel publicly and privately,” Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said.

    In the debate, Romney criticized Obama for not visiting Israel on his 2009 Middle East trip.

    "You skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations,” he said.

    Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz countered, "the president has had Israel's back in word and deed."

    “The reason the Republicans are spending all this money is because they know they're wrong on every issue that matters to Jews domestically, whether it's education or health care or women's health or reproductive freedom,” said Wasserman Schultz, who is the first Jewish woman elected to congress from Florida.

    She said that despite the ad blitz, Obama has higher Jewish support now than he did at this point in 2008.

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