Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich Israel news photo: Newt Gingrich 2012 Official Site

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, formerly a Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington, said on Wednesday that he believes that the pro-Israel Republican candidate, Newt Gingrich, who won Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, has a good chance to beat Mitt Romney and run against President Barack Obama in November’s presidential election.

“The public is very enthusiastic about Gingrich’s ideology,” Ettinger told Arutz Sheva. “He is considered a friend of Israel and in his previous position as Speaker of the House of Representatives he proved to be an avid fan of Israel.”

Over the past several months, Gingrich has continuously expressed his support for Israel. He promised Republican Jewish activists that, if elected President, he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and later also said that as President he would consider freeing Jonathan Pollard.

Gingrich also told The Jewish Channel in a recent interview that the claim of Palestinian Authority Arabs to be “a people” is not legitimate.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state,” Gingrich said. It was part of the Ottoman Empire” until the early 20th century.

“I think that we’ve invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community,” he added. “And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s and it's tragic.”

The remarks angered the Palestinian Authority but were welcomed by the National Conference on Jewish Affairs.

Ettinger noted said that all the candidates are competing with one another over who will show more support towards Israel.

“Even the President himself, in his annual speech last night, specifically mentioned Israel in the list of countries with which the U.S. has positive relations,” he said. “Obama spoke of the ‘iron-clad commitment to Israel's security’. Obama knows that this is an election year and that the American public gives a clear advantage to supporters of Israel.”

Ettinger said he believes Obama’s chances of being elected for another term are very low.

“Obama will have to defend his failures: the rising unemployment, gas prices and the real estate problem,” said Ettinger. “Traditionally, an incumbent president who runs for a second term and enters elections with less than 50 percent support is not re-elected again. For the last two and a half years Obama has had support of only 43 percent, and unemployment is at nine percent.”

He estimated that even a decision to attack Iran will not change the picture. “They call it the October surprise. Clinton did it in 1998, when a few days before the mid-term election he bombed the centers of Islamic terrorism in Africa. In reality, however, foreign affairs have minimal impact on the American public. Even after the Bin Laden killing, Obama’s support increased by ten percent but it only lasted two weeks.”

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