Rick Perry, the Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful, is known for his staunch support of Israel. His approval of 2011 legislation that codified the right for a Texas home to display a mezuzah up to 24 inches long inspired a massive Rick Perry Mezuzah that sells for $999. Now, Perry has taken things a few steps further, sitting down with The Town author Mark Leibovich at a Los Angeles deli and telling him he’s more Jewish than the (Jewish) politics reporter might expect.
Here’s how Leibovich’s New York Times Magazine profile of Perry begins:
“Boys, I am going to bless this meal,” Rick Perry said, ducking his head and folding his hands under his chin. We were sitting at Nate ’n Al, the Jewish Deli in Beverly Hills, and the governor of Texas was looking every bit the regular customer in a tight black polo shirt and designer glasses. His face was nicely tanned; his hair, as ever, was coifed and TV-ready. He had just ordered a corned-beef Reuben (“I worked out this morning”) and a Diet Dr Pepper (“you got those critters?” he asked the waiter). But before diving in, Perry took a moment to appreciate his surroundings. “I’m more Jewish than you think I am,” he told me. “I read the part of the Bible that said the Jews are God’s chosen people.” He boasted that he has been going to Israel since 1992. Then Perry got down to business, thanking the Lord for His many blessings, and asking Him to be with “our men and women who defend our freedom, bring ’em home safe, be with the president, give him wisdom.”