Bachmann’s time at Kibbutz Be’eri, an agricultural collective in the Negev desert near the Gaza Strip, came in 1974 — the year after the Yom Kippur War and less than 30 years after Israel gained independence. In the initial decades of Israel’s existence, it was common for supporters from the United States and elsewhere to volunteer for a span of time to held establish the fledgling nation.
“It was hard work — sunburn, blisters, sore joints — but it was a wonderful experience,” Bachmann wrote. “I felt closer not only to Jesus but also all the great figures of the Tanach (Jewish texts) and the Gospel. And I was able to do my small part to help Israel build itself up.”
Bachmann has made staunch U.S. support for Israel a central theme of her foreign policy platform, repeatedly deriding President Obama for not maintaining a cozy enough relationship with Israel and its leaders. She has also warned of the threats Iran and Syria pose to Israel, claiming in a Nov. 12 debate that “the table is being set for worldwide nuclear war against Israel.”
For Bachmann, embracing Israel appeals to two key constituency groups: evangelical Christians, who believe Israel’s existence fulfills a biblical prophecy about the second coming of Jesus Christ, and neoconservatives, who see the U.S. alliance with Israel as a critical countermeasure against Islamic extremism.
“It’s always been clear to me: The Jewish State of Israel has the right to exist, the right to self-defense, and the clear need to build up its defenses,” Bachmann wrote. “And if they do so, they will be helping themselves and ourselves to perfect the technology to confront new potential threats from countries such as Iran.”