Monday, November 12, 2012
Mitt Romney’s support for Israel — compared to President Obama’s perceived weaker pledge of allegiance — spurred an Orthodox Jewish but anti-Israel enclave upstate to vote for the incumbent, sources said.
“We were unofficially told to vote for Obama because Romney is pro-Israel,” a resident told The Post.
The counterintuitive voting pattern in the village of Kiryas Joel is a result of beliefs held by the some in the Satmar sect that Jews are supposed to remain in exile until the arrival of the messiah.
Even kids got in on the ballot act.
A source said he was about to cast his vote Tuesday when a child asked him if he was planning to vote for Obama.
“I said, ‘Do you want me to vote for Obama? And he said, ‘Yes — because the other one is going to be good for [Israel].’ ”
Added Satmar Shimon Rolnitzky: “Some people voted for Obama to make a statement that they disagree with what they believe are unfair attacks against the president by Zionist interests.”
Official results for the village won’t be ready for weeks, but unofficially, out of 5,286 votes cast, 1,904 went to Romney and 1,442 went to Obama, according to a person familiar with the tally — a huge jump for Obama, considering four years ago, John McCain took home about 90 percent of the vote in Kiryas Joel.
The village is home to the followers of Aaron Teitelbaum, who is jockeying with his brother Zalman Teitelbaum, who leads the Williamsburg faction, over control of the Satmar empire, once unified under their father, Grand Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum.
Pols, such as scandal scarred Assemblyman Vito Lopez — a ‘Zali’ ally — court the sect because of their strong turnout on Election Day.
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