Rarely, in today’s world of spoiled, overpaid, over publicized, self-centered, America-hating athletes, do we find a shining star such as Mariano Rivera, who was the first player ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a unanimous vote of the Baseball Writers of America. Not only was a proud pinstriped Yankee for his entire Major League career, but he appeared in 13 All Star games, was in 5 World Series championships with the Yanks and in 1999 was selected as the World Series Most Valuable Player. But all of his accomplishments have not spoiled this guy. He’s a naturalized citizen who is an outspoken supporter of the United States as opposed to the likes of ex-NFL’er Colin Kaepernick and female soccer player, Megan Rapinoe. He puts them to shame in every category of common sense, humility and respect for this land. That’s why we just love the guy.
However, he is also a devout Christian who is an open, proud, enthusiastic Israel supporter. He has been to Israel twice. He noted in an interview: “The experience that I had in Israel just speaks volumes in it of itself. The experience that I had there, it was amazing. There are no words to describe what I felt. I believe that part of me is Jewish. I have to take a DNA test to see where my family came from, where I come from because there is something in me that just moves me to have something special for the Jewish community and Israel.”
But to Jew haters, specifically one obviously self-hating one, Robert Silverman, who bashed Mariano in the Daily Beast, claims that this Yankee great, no matter how he is adored not only by the fans but opposing players as well, “served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of an apartheid government in Israel and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.” One of these so called “bigots,” this Silverman fool names is Pastor John Hagee, a widely respected Christian leader, one of the most influential, pro-Israel spokespeople who is the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a powerful Christian pro-Israel movement to which Mariano Rivera belongs and represents world-wide. Would that our own community of Jews were as staunchly pro-Israel and supportive of Jews as Christians such as Hagee and Rivera. We, at the New York Jewish Voice, give credit to these two Menschen and their movement and pray that the enemies we both share finally wake up and silence their dangerous hate-filled voices that threaten both the Jewish and Christian communities. Again, we are proud to put our arms around Yankee baseball great, Mariano Rivera, and wish him, his family and his causes the blessings of our common G-d.