Jerusalem News (8 March, 2015, 17 Adar, 5775)

1. Christians Loving Jews
Benjamin Netanyahu, John Boehner and America's Evangelicals  by Frank Bruni

2. Haifa U Research Confirms, 'Think Good & It Will Be Good!'
3. More voters side with Benjamin Netanyahu than Obama on Iran nuclear deal:
1. Christians Loving Jews
Benjamin Netanyahu, John Boehner and America's Evangelicals  by Frank Bruni
MARCH 7, 2015

HE was almost lost in the whirl of lawmakers, pundits, plutocrats and other boldface names who showed up for Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress last week. But the presence of Pat Boone was a key to understanding why John Boehner was playing a smart game of party politics to stand so solidly with the Israeli prime minister.

I'm referring to Boone the singer. But I really mean Boone the churchman. He's a prominent figure among, and megaphone for, American's evangelical Christians, who listened to Netanyahu's remarks as closely and adoringly as any constituency in this country.

And days earlier, on a radio show, Boone described Netanyahu as a friend who was well aware that evangelical Christians constitute some of 'Israel's most staunch supporters,' numbering 'in the tens of millions in the United States.'

He's correct in that analysis, which was strangely missing from much of the media coverage of and commentary about the Netanyahu-Boehner alliance.

JEWS in the Democratic Party are more divided on the actions that conservative Israeli leaders like Netanyahu have taken in defense of Israel than evangelical Christians in the Republican Party are.

And that helps to explain the tightened bond between Israel and Republicans over the last few decades.

We in the media often look past that to focus on the influence of a handful of rich Jewish Republican donors for whom Israel is a priority. Foremost among them is Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate. He almost single-handedly kept Newt Gingrich's 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination financed and alive.

And a year ago, when Chris Christie joined other potential Republican presidential candidates to give speeches to the Republican Jewish Coalition, he had to ask Adelson's forgiveness after using the phrase 'occupied territories' in reference to land where Palestinians live but Israel maintains a military presence.

But the bigger story is Israel's importance to evangelical Christians.

'Christian Zionism as a sentiment is not new,' said Dan Senor, a Republican foreign policy adviser who has traveled to Israel with Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and other Republican candidates. 'But as a movement, it has grown exponentially in size and political sophistication over the past 15 years.'

Some evangelical Christians' interest in Israel reflects an interpretation of the Bible's prophetic passages that's known as premillennial dispensationalism. It maintains that the End of Days can play out as God intends only if Jews govern Israel and have reconstructed a temple on the Temple Mount, where there's now a mosque.

But just a subset of evangelicals subscribe to that. Others are motivated by their belief, rooted in scripture, that God always intended Israel for Jews and that honoring that and keeping Israel safe is a way of honoring God. God's blessing of America, they feel, cannot be divorced from America's backing of Israel.

The conservative Christian television preacher Pat Robertson once publicly suggested that Ariel Sharon had suffered a stroke and that Yitzhak Rabin had been assassinated because both of these former Israeli prime ministers had pursued policies of 'dividing God's land.'

'There are evangelical connections to the land,'  said Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

It's common for large evangelical congregations in the United States to organize tours of Israel for their members. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor and probable candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has been running something of a side business as a guide for American evangelicals with Galilee and the Garden of Gethsemane in their sights. 'The man is just nuts about Israel,' William Booth wrote in a Washington Post story two weeks ago about Huckabee's tours. Huckabee told Booth that he visits Israel as often as four times a year.

The attacks of 9/11 and the spreading threat of Islamic extremists have further strengthened American evangelicals' sense of kinship with Jews in Israel, whom they see as crucial partners in fighting butchers who have recently singled out Christians for slaughter.

Moore told me that American evangelical leaders are routinely trying to get American lawmakers to focus on anti-Semitism around the globe. He said that when he joined the prominent evangelical pastor Rick Warren and the lawyer (and Clinton adversary) Ken Starr last week on a panel at Georgetown University to discuss religious issues, anti-Semitism came up immediately.

That's a climate and a context that are essential to understanding fully the bear hug in which Boehner wrapped Bibi. He wasn't merely welcoming a world leader. He was doing in the arena of foreign policy what he tries and sometimes fails to do with domestic issues: keeping the base in buoyant spirits.
2. Haifa U Research Confirms, 'Think Good & It Will Be Good!'
Researchers at the University of Haifa find that it is better for customer service employees to express positive emotions rather than show neutrality in their work.
By: Hana Levi Julian

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Haifa has confirmed what the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, always told his followers in the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement: 'Tracht gut un zein gut!' ([Yiddish] Think good and it will be good!)

The study led by Professor Dana Yagil from the university's Department of Human Services, found that 'suppressing positive interpersonal emotions is detrimental to employees as well as to customer satisfaction.'

'The expression of natural positive emotions is well received by the other party,' Yagil observed, adding that it is 'likely to contribute to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.'

The findings were published in the journal Motivation and Emotion. 'Suppression of positive interpersonal emotions is contrary to natural behavior in social interactions,' Yagil said. Among service employees working in call centers, marketing and sales, employees are often expected to maintain a neutral demeanor. Yagil found that neutrality comes at a 'price,' however.

Some 246 participants of various ages, employed in customer relations, were included in the study.

The findings indicated that suppressing negative emotions was linked to positive customer satisfaction; suppressing positive emotions increased the sense of employee inauthenticity, which in turn increased customer dissatisfaction.
3. More voters side with Benjamin Netanyahu than Obama on Iran nuclear deal:
 poll By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2015
That speech before Congress may have worked: More U.S. voters appear to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's tougher approach over President Obama's more conciliatory strategy when it comes to negotiations with Iran. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Friday found 45 percent of likely voters agreed with Mr. Netanyahu's statement during his Tuesday speech that 'if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons ' lots of them.' Only  30 percent disagreed, and 25 percent said they were not sure. Mr. Netanyahu's name was not mentioned in the poll question. Meanwhile, the poll found more voters than not oppose the Obama administration's effort to secure 'a 10-year freeze on Iran's nuclear development program in exchange for lifting some sanctions on the Iranian economy.' The survey found 39 percent opposed to the freeze strategy, with 35 percent in favor of the plan and 25 percent undecided, 'which isn't surprising, given that the deal is being negotiated in secret and not many of the details are known,' noted the poll's analysis. Mr. Netanyahu spoke Tuesday to a joint session of Congress on his opposition to the potential deal being negotiated by the Obama administration and the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
An estimated 56 House and Senate Democrats, along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, boycotted the speech, which was characterized as an affront to Mr. Obama. ________________________________________
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations Website: www.imra.org.il

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