CHARLOTTE N.C. (JTA) — Robert Wexler, a former congressman who is a chief Jewish surrogate for President Obama, told the Democratic National Convention that reelecting Obama was the better choice for a secure Israel.

“Now is the time to support Israel as a thriving, democratic, and secure homeland for the Jewish people by re-electing Barack Obama as President of the United States,” Wexler told the crowd in Wexler’s prime-time appearance Tuesday evening that was announced at the last moment.

Wexler, a Florida congressman who was among the first Jewish lawmakers to endorse Obama in 2007, cited increased US-Israel missile defense cooperation and intensified efforts under Obama to isolate Iran and keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Democrats have been pushing back against Republican claims that Obama has distanced himself on Israel.

On Tuesday, Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate blasted the DNC for not mentioning Israel’s claim to Jerusalem in its platform for the first time since 1988.

“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Romney, who has said he regards Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, said in a statement.

No president has recognized Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as official US policy, although Congress in 1995 legislated such recognition.