WASHINGTON - American Jews expressed flagrant support for Democratic candidates for Congress, contributing to a turnaround in the House of Representatives. According to a CNN sampling of voters, 87 percent of Jewish voters voted Democrat.
This was the highest percentage of support for Democrats since the Republicans took over Congress in 1994.
The Republican Party tried to frighten Jewish voters during the election campaign, primarily with their ads in Jewish newspapers, but no one was buying.
In this election, Jews voted for candidates they thought would be good for Israel, but not necessarily the ones who would be the best for Israel, said Steve Rabinowitz, an elections expert who served in the White House during the Clinton era.
Jews didn't vote for anti-Israeli candidates, but also didn't ignore other issues important to them: the war in Iraq, the economy, immigration, the environment and abortion, he explained.
One of the Democrats' biggest assets was Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago-born son of former Israelis, who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign.
Emanuel, who served as a Clinton political advisor in Washington, endorsed conservative candidates for conservative states such as Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky and, thus, succeeded in achieving a political upset in traditionally Republican areas.
Additionally, the number of Jews in Congress is expected to increase: Bernie Sanders (Independent) from Vermont and Ben Cardin (Democrat) from Maryland will raise the number of Jewish Senators from 11 to 13 out of 100 - in a nation where Jews comprise only 5 million of the 300 million person population.
There are some 25 Jewish representatives in the House of Representatives, several of whom are expected to chair important House committees in the future.