Newt Gingrich, 68, is considered a candidate who could easily win. If the other candidates fight with each other, he will be the 'responsible adult, who could take the whole pot, according to some commentators.
Meanwhile, Gingrich has managed to maintain stability in the polls, with some giving him 15 percent support. In the debates, he does well due to his experience and restraint. He is also the candidate who displays the best grasp of the issues. Gingrich has called for the U.S. to cut back on its support for the U.N. if it recognizes a Palestinian state.
On the day I interviewed the former House Speaker (from 1995 to 1999), Gilad Shalit had just been released from Hamas captivity.
Israel Hayom: As an American, can you understand the deal?
Gingrich: I think that the Israeli nation's passion is very close to American values.
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What is your take on Israel-U.S. relations?
We tried to talk peacefully with Iran, and that created expectations, while our State Department said the onus was on Israel. In order to deal with neighbors who wake up in the morning and say, 'We want to kill you,' the onus needs to be on those who seek violence. We need to re-organize the discourse in the region, to change the language.
Isn't America always automatically on the side of Israel? Isn't that the tradition?
One of the great virtues of the previous generation was that they knew that we cannot help everyone, and that Israel has to defend itself. Israel cannot automatically assume that someone is committed to it. I am deeply committed to Israel's survival and to the dramatic strategic difference between it and the Arab world. But I would say that it is not possible, in light of Israel's experience, to assume that the U.S. president will support it. Some of our presidents understand foreign policy, while some do not. American presidents come from a wide spectrum. The current president is fundamentally mistaken in the way he understands the world. He fundamentally errs regarding what needs to be done. For this reason, Obama is dangerous.
Is Obama not a friend of Israel?
I think that he defined himself as a friend of Israel, and I don't question his sincerity.
The current administration renewed the dialogue with Iran. How would you act toward Iran if you were in the White House?
U.S. policy must be about replacing the dictatorship. I believe that the Iranian regime is committed to eliminating Israel and defeating the U.S. I think that a psychological, diplomatic and political effort is required on all fronts in order to maximize the imposition of sanctions and promote a policy that will bring about the fall of the regime in Tehran.
Is it important, in your opinion, that Iran understand that a military attack against it is an option?
Do you believe that democracy can take root in the Arab world after the Arab Spring?
Regarding Iraq, after we created a fragile and weakened society, we must admit that this has dramatically strengthened the Iranians' power. But I think that we can guarantee the growth of democracy in Iraq. Regarding democracy in the Arab world, I think that they can, that all the states can. We need a fundamental change in Arab and Islamic culture. Try to understand what the pillars of Arab culture are that can allow them to begin as a modern society. We want to support any Arab country with an open, modern culture that can accept the Jew and the Baha'i and other nations. This is a process that could take generations.
How is it that after the attacks on the Twin Towers people around the world demonstrated against Bush, and not against Bin Laden? How did you suddenly become the object of hatred for citizens of the world's nations?
I think it's because we have the strongest and richest society in the world. We are, after all, a society that believes in a broad, capitalist model, in Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others who have the ability to create amazing things that others can't. We consistently protected the individual and his freedom since 1776. We support a person's rights against the bureaucrats, against intervention, against dictatorship.
Let's say you are elected to the White House, will we see a different policy toward Israel?
Every sovereign country has the authority to choose its own capital city. That is a principle that I have spoken about, and I voted for it when I was responsible for legislation that called to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, we need to respond to the Israeli request.
And if the State Department objects?
If we need to replace everyone – we'll replace them.
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