Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett praised the Jewish state during a short speech delivered Dec. 10 at Temple Sinai in Dresher.
Speaking to about 450 people who came out on an icy and snowy Tuesday night, the Republican governor called Israel a “symbol of hope for those who struggle for freedom and self-determination all around the world.”
Corbett spoke as part of “Standing United With Israel,” a program organized by the synagogue, along with PhillyIsrael and the Friends of Israel, a Christian organization.
The theme of the evening didn’t revolve around a singular issue, such as the Iranian threat, but instead focused on the importance of Israel, how it unites Jews and Christians, and the many good things it offers the world, such as medical and technological innovations.
At least a quarter of the audience identified as Christian. One speaker asked all the Christians in the room to stand, and when they did, the rest of the audience burst into applause.
Other speakers included State Sen. Anthony Williams, a Democrat from West Philadelphia, and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, also a Democrat.
Corbett has spoken at several other local pro-Israel events while in office. He is considered an unpopular incumbent and, by all accounts, faces a tough path to re-election.
In his speech, which lasted less than five minutes, Corbett said, “Israel was born in biblical history and was carved from the desert in an age of what seemed like unending hostility. No one who has ever read history could deny the need for a Jewish homeland.”
“Israel is not our ally because it is convenient,” he added. “Israel is our ally because they are one of the closest reflections we can find of the American ideals to live in freedom.”
He also spoke briefly about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ties to the area. Netanyahu graduated Cheltenham High School in 1967. His family lived here for several years while Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, taught history at Dropsie College.
The prime minister, said Corbett, “speaks English with a Pennsylvania accent.”