Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama for his stance on Israel on Thursday, telling a Florida crowd that if elected he would "stand with our friends," Reuters reports.
"This president has found it pretty sensible to be critical of our friends," Romney told a Palm Beach County crowd that included many Jewish voters.
"He went to the United Nations and criticized Israel for building settlements. He had nothing to say about Hamas' 20,000 rockets into Israel," Romney said. "We will stand with our friends."
Romney's message, delivered ahead of Florida's January 31 primary, resonated with Sholom Ciment, a rabbi from Boca Raton, another wealthy Florida enclave.
"I appreciate the fact that he just made a pledge to stand proudly by Israel today. The past years, Israel has not been treated as the trusted ally of stature that it is," said Ciment, who plans to vote for Romney.
Harlan Janowitz, a Jewish voter and home healthcare worker from West Palm Beach, said he supports Obama and predicted he would win in November if the economy improves a bit, if U.S. troops continue to come home and "if nothing blows up in Israel and the Middle East."
"The pro-Israel cause here has worried about Obama," Janowitz said.