Virginia Republican says Jews are not monolithic

Cantor, 37, says he hopes to bring that kind of responsiveness to Washington when he assumes his seat in the House of Representatives next month.

Though he will join 26 other Jewish colleagues there, he will be one of only two Jewish Republicans. Cantor bristles at the notion that Democratic and Jewish perspectives on issues are one and the same.

"The idea that there is a 'Jewish position' on most non-religious matters is not reality," he says. "Jews are not monolithic."

Cantor, a lawyer and longtime Republican stalwart who earned a decisive victory over Democratic opponent Warren Stewart, intends to stick to his conservative principles in Congress.

Cantor also supports school choice, educational tax credits and vouchers. All three of his children once attended Richmond's only Orthodox day school, though they now attend public school.

In the Virginia House, where he was elected in 1991 at the age of 28, Cantor worked to initiate the Virginia-Israel Advisory Board and privately raised more than $200,000 to back its work. The board — on which his wife, Diana Fine, now sits — promotes high-tech trade between Virginia and Israel.

Cantor adds that he feels "resentment" toward the Clinton administration for "pushing Israel into concessions and talks that were well before their time."

In the upcoming term, Cantor hopes to advocate a U.S.-Israel policy that would support the Jewish state while also allowing "Israel to determine its own fate."

— Gayle Horwitz