Rubio, pro-Israel hawk, declares run for GOP nod

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a hawk on pro-Israel issues, declared his bid for the Republican presidential candidacy.

Rubio, 43, spoke Monday with donors, according to various media reports, and said his campaign would emphasize his biography: The child of refugees from the Cuban dictatorship who made good in America. He was due to make a formal announcement Monday evening.

Rubio’s presence in the race splits Florida’s influential Republican Jewish community between two viable candidates; Jeb Bush, the state’s fomer governor and a onetime mentor to Rubio is also running.

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Rubio already has the backing of one of the state’s most important Jewish GOP funders, Norman Braman, a car dealership magnate who owned the Philadelphia eagles from 1986-1994, when he sold the team and moved to Florida.

Rubio has blasted President Barack Obama, blaming him for the recent tensions between the Israel and American governments.

He has proposed legislation that would require Iran to recognize Israel as part of a final nuclear deal.