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Orthodox Jews Backing Santorum

Republican hopeful, Rick Santorum is receiving broad support from the Orthodox Jewish community.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 2/26/2012, 5:37 PM

Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum
Reuters
Republican presidential nominee contender Rick Santorum may be gaining broad support from the Orthodox Jewish community in the United States.

“He’s always been tough on the issues of importance,” said a spokesman for Jewspickrick.com, a website organized by members of the Orthodox Jewish community in New York and New Jersey that outlines Santorum’s social issues and foreign policy and attempts to gain further Jewish support. 

“He won’t have to come in and need advisement, like some others. He won three times in Pennsylvania, a democratic state, and on birth control and abortion we know where he stands,” the spokesman said.

“Members representing the group point to ‘family values’ among other things, on its website, as part of the reason for their support of the former Senator,” Israel Matzav stated. 

The website affirms, “As a married father of seven, Santorum is uniquely qualified to understand family values in a manner aligned with the Orthodox Jewish community.”

“Santorum has publicly come out and said he’s going to seek the Orthodox vote.  We’re here to say he has it,” the group’s spokesman told The Algemeiner.

However, Santorum's recent surge in the polls and newly donned front-runner status has made him a target of liberal Jewish leaders who consider his conservative social agenda "a non-starter" that pundits say will cost him crucial votes.

Santorum's strong conservative posture is key for shoring up support during the primaries and leaves him the option of campaigning to the center during the general election.                                                                                                                                                                

Such a move would not be unprecedented. Ronald Reagan campaigned well to the right of his GOP rivals and predecessors, yet won nearly 40 percent of the Jewish vote in 1980. That year too was framed by a showdown with Iran and a struggling economy.

Obama, however, won over 70% of the Jewish vote in 2008.

The staunchly pro-Israel Santorum's supporters among Orthodox Jewry predict he will make up his losses among liberal Jews not only from their own ranks, but the ranks of moderate Zionist and pro-Likud Jews for whom Israel is a key issue.