Political campaigns often attract candidates with extraordinary biographies, but none may be as unique as that of Dr. Yona Barash, who announced last month that he was running as a Republican challenger in a Sacramento swing district.
Barash was born in Romania in 1945, when it was occupied by Nazi Germany. His family made it in 1950 to Israel, where Barash joined the Israeli Defense Forces, graduated from medical school, and then served as a doctor in a paratrooper unit. He immigrated to the United States in 1975, became a citizen five years later, and has worked as a surgeon in the Sacramento area since 1989.
Barash plans to make healthcare a key focus of his campaign. He was critical of the universal healthcare model proposed by some Democrats.
“Socialized medicine creates a two-tier system,” he told the Elk Grove Citizen. “For the very wealthy that can afford to buy health care out of the system, and for the rest that have to wait for a hip transplant or a knee replacement and sit in a wheelchair for two years, that’s socialized medicine. And I see us going that direction and that’s not good.”
Barash, who voted for President Trump, cited his Israeli background when explaining his support for the travel ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Barash is not the only Republican in the race—he’d first have to defeat Marine veteran Andrew Grant in the GOP primary. But if he succeeds, he has a real shot at being sent to Congress: Rep. Ami Bera, his Democratic opponent, has never received more than 52% of the vote.