By Trudy Stern
I traveled to Israel during the war this past summer and had one of the most emotionally draining experiences of my life. I came back from Israel in the depths of depression—not only because of the situation that I had seen there, but because of the horrible turmoil all over the world:
Ongoing massacres of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq; hundreds kidnapped and thousands killed in Nigeria by Boko Haram; the piecemeal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with the random killing of thousands of Ukrainian civilians; beheadings by ISIS; a military coup in Thailand; and hundreds of acts of anti-Semitism all over Europe. UN peacekeepers were kidnapped in Syria by Al Nusra Islamist militants, but back at the UN they were assembling a commission, led by a notorious anti-Semite, to investigate Israel. While the world was burning and civilians were being murdered, while women were taken captive and sold into slavery, our president was playing golf.
Amidst all these events, I found myself in the Hamptons for the weekend. While there, I was invited to an intimate gathering to meet Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas (who, rumor has it, is considering a run for the presidency). As a co-president of NORPAC and co-chair of AIPAC for the South Shore of Long Island, I have had the opportunity to meet many senators, both Republicans and Democrats. Most are good, committed people who are dedicated to the betterment of the United States and the protection of Israel. But Senator Cruz was really special.
He immediately caught my attention when he pointed out that the national debt is growing exponentially—in the past six years, the debt went from $10 trillion to $16 trillion—and that we need to act before it’s too late to dig ourselves out. He demonstrated a depth of knowledge of all the issues facing Israel and how they relate to America. He said that it is possible to change this course, but we need to act now. He then presented a clear path and vision to restore optimism, hope, and a safer world filled with opportunity. His delivery was articulate, well thought out, and dynamic. He was a huge inspiration to me, and for the first time since I returned from Israel, I felt that there was hope for the future, for my children and grandchildren.
In 2012, Ted Cruz was elected as the 34th U.S. senator from Texas, winning a decisive victory in both the Republican primary and the general election. The Washington Post described Cruz’s election as “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds,” and the National Review has described Ted as “a great Reaganite hope.” Columnist George Will has described him as “as good as it gets.”
Cruz graduated with honors from Princeton University and with high honors from Harvard Law School. He served as a
law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court. He received national acclaim arguing cases before the Supreme Court as Texas’s solicitor general—the nation’s youngest—as well as at one of America’s largest law firms. In U.S. Supreme Court cases, he authored more than 80 briefs and presented 43 oral arguments.
Following my weekend in the Hamptons, I was invited to come to Texas to meet Senator Cruz’s team. On Labor Day Monday, I flew to Texas with my daughter Caroline to meet Senator Cruz’s top advisors. The senator has surrounded himself with some of the brightest people I have ever met, including his wife, Heidi. She is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, is well versed in global affairs, and is warm, friendly, and down-to-earth. Senator Cruz has built a tremendous organization, including a cutting-edge tech team, for his career. It was clear to me that Senator Cruz is a significant player in the political game and someone to watch.
While in Texas, Senator Cruz once again demonstrated his deep understanding of global affairs and the importance of the bond between Israel and America and their roles with regard to Iran, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations. At a gala in Washington DC this past week, he stood behind his commitment to Israel. As the keynote speaker for a conference held by the newly formed In Defense of Christians group, Senator Cruz was heckled for equating the Christians to the Jews in their persecution by Islamist terror groups. He responded by chastising the group for their bigotry and walking off stage. Just before exiting, he said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.” These sorts of spontaneous and instinctive actions are a window into a person’s real convictions. Ted Cruz is a true friend, and we are fortunate to have such an outspoken, articulate, and smart advocate for Israel.