John Kasich gave an impromptu 20-minute speech about hope and religious faith to a suburban New York Orthodox synagogue.
The Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate avoided politics in the address Saturday to hundreds of congregants at Long Island’s Great Neck Synagogue, Newsday reported.
Kasich — who is second in the New York Republican primary polls ahead of Tuesday’s vote, about 30 points behind leader Donald Trump — told the modern Orthodox congregation that religion helped him forgive the drunken driver who killed his parents in a car crash in 1987. He was raised Catholic but now attends an Anglican church.
However, when asked by a reporter outside after the speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kasich emphasized that he is “not a neutral broker when it comes to Israel.”
“The one thing I said was that the Israelites have entered the promised land, and they will always be in the promised land, forever – until the end of human history,” he said. “Right now, I don’t think the Israelis have a willing partner for peace.”
The two-term governor also told reporters that anti-Semitism “will not be tolerated on our college campuses.”
After his synagogue speech, Kasich was heading to the PJ Bernstein Jewish deli on the Upper West Side.
“I’m currently working on a secret plan to delay the primary so I can spend more time eating in New York,” Kasich told reporters outside the synagogue.
According to The New York Times, Kasich ate chicken soup with kreplach at the deli but declined a pastrami sandwich.
“I’ve eaten so much that I can’t eat anymore,” he said.
Kasich trails by a significant margin in the overall delegate count with 145 to Trump’s 758 and Cruz’s 553.