By Cindy Grosz
Antonio Sabàto Jr. wants to show his gratitude to the United States, the country “that gave him his freedom and opportunities,” by serving the public as a Congressman.
Along with the decisions voters will be making this November, American Jews will be facing the choice between pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist candidates who, in addition to a strong desire to serve their constituents on local issues, are in tune with Trump administration policies.
If Antonio’s name sounds familiar, you are not alone. He started as a Calvin Klein underwear model and soon moved to TV, appearing in daytime’s “General Hospital,” the science fiction series “Earth 2” and the prime time soap “Melrose Place.” Later he appeared in “The Bold and the Beautiful” and the TV series “The League.”
Since then Sabàto has moved to more serious pursuits. He is running in California’s 26th congressional district against incumbent Congresswoman Julia Brownley. He made his platform clear in an exclusive interview I conducted with him in which he talked about Israel, immigration, education, Holocaust denial and working with the Trump administration.
Actually, the country heard his opinions when he was a recent guest on The View and voiced his concerns on illegal versus legal immigration.
According to his Facebook page: “Sabàto was taught the importance of a strong work ethic as he watched his parents work two to three jobs to make ends meet. In 1996 after completing the necessary steps, Antonio became a United States citizen – what he calls ‘the proudest moment of my life.’
“Most recently, Sabàto decided that, like many of us, he has had enough of professional politicians who care nothing about their local community. Sabàto was inspired to run for Congress in California’s 26th District because he wanted to give back to the country that gave him his freedom and opportunities.”
The first thing Sabàto wanted to me to know about him was his ability to listen. Second, he stressed that if he wins the election, the victory is not his alone, but that of the people he represents. “I am running on the ideas of my people,” he said.
Jewish Roots and Love for Israel
Antonio was born in Rome in 1972. His father, Antonio Sabàto Sr., a film star of Italian heritage, was born in Sicily. His mother, Yvonne Kabouchy, from Prague, is of Czech and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage; her own mother was a Holocaust survivor.
“I am Jewish by blood,” Sabàto proudly declared, his last name actually the same as that of a well-known Israeli rabbi and prize-winning author. He repeated several times how happy he is that President Trump is rebuilding the relationship with the Jewish state that President Obama damaged so severely during his tenure in office.
He was opposed to the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015, and when elected, hopes to help President Trump create a better deal now that the United States withdrew from the deal. He stands with President Trump on sanctions against any terror group that incites and does not renounce violence and feels strongly that governments must fully recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Sabàto feels he has a unique opportunity to build a new bridge between his district, the state of California, and Israel. California is known to have drought issues. He has studied the advances Israel has made in irrigation and purifying water. “Israel is so much more advanced in their methods of water purifying and irrigation. My opponent, the incumbent, has done nothing on this matter, and won’t. I plan on visiting Israel right after getting elected and starting a new relationship between my district and Israel.”
Sabàto is open about his own family’s experiences as Holocaust victims and survivors. His maternal grandparents were Czechoslovakian Ashkenazi Jews, in hiding when the Russian communists took over and banned religion. They escaped to Italy where they finally had freedom, but by then, Antonio’s mother was a teen and practicing another religion. Once she found out her own history, she shared her story with Antonio and his sister. They have visited Yad Vashem where his family members’ names can be found, along with records of their deaths.
Sabàto said that as congressman, he will do whatever is needed to work on Holocaust education, fight its denial and make sure that an international following knows the truth about what happened during World War II.
California ranks 42nd in the nation in education. Sabàto stands with President Trump in supporting school choice. It makes no sense to him why, when so much money is spent per child on education, the results are often failure. He believes parents should and could be more involved.
One of the first issues Sabàto plans to address as congressman is the anti-Israel and antisemitic actions on California campuses. “Today, our campuses seem like puppets of a socialist party. Students today need to think for themselves. They are starting to wake up to reality when they graduate. Many are disappointed, and in debt, surrounded by sanctuary cities, ridiculous gas and water taxes and nothing like the American Dream they were promised. Luckily, many are turning to the words of our president, our constitution, and a desire for succeeding at reading, writing and arithmetic,” adding that California will surprise many with a surge of red in November.
Antonio Sabàto Jr. has been endorsed in Hollywood by Dean Cain, Scott Baio and Kirstie Alley. “It’s amazing to me that I have worked successfully in this business for thirty years, yet, since supporting Donald Trump, the job market changed for me. It only makes me a stronger advocate for him, his administration and his policies,” he said.
Antonio Sabàto Jr. has also received the endorsement of many California Republican and Conservative party groups. One important endorsement came from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Califonaia 39th District) a pro-Israel supporter on the Hill, who said: “Antonio Sabàto Jr. is energetic and hard-working. He has what it takes to be a leader on the Hill and is willing to do what it takes to make progress in the 26th district.”
“I am honored to receive this important endorsement from someone who I agree with on many topics. Mr. Royce is a key party leader, and I admire the work that he has done for the people of his district, for California, and for our nation,” said Sabàto. “We are both extremely dedicated to the importance of STEM in our schools. It is important to make sure our children get the most thorough education and are prepared for the future.”
Cindy Grosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.