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political action committee, said
he easily puts the Levins at the
top of the class among support-
ers of Israel.
"Israel is a strategic ally even
in the post-Cold War era," Sen.
Levin said. "Because of terrorism,
the world is a more dangerous
place, and Israel is a tremendous
Mr. Amitay remembers times
when members of Congress wa-
vered on foreign aid. Rep. Levin
worked diligently to get the votes,
His brother's equally strong
convictions about Israel and its
security might have been a po-
tential source of conflict between
the senator and the Arab-Amer-
ican community. Both, however,
— decreasing the number of his
Jewish constituents. It is a dis-
trict where voters overwhelm-
ingly supported Patrick
Buchanan in the March 19 pres-
Four years ago, Republican
John Pappageorge, a retired
army general, waged what
turned out to be a close battle
against Rep. Levin. Their 1994
rematch was even closer. Rep.
Levin walked away with 10,000
votes more than Mr. Pappa-
Again, the retired army colonel
is back in the race, hoping three
is a charm. •
The Levins, particularly the
senator, top the list of Democrats
whom Michigan Republicans
the state's representation in the
Senate "is a wonderful testimony
to what America is."
Dr. Radwan Khoury, assistant
director of the local Arab
Chaldean Council, described Sen.
Levin as "a supporter for every-
one in Michigan."
Sen. Levin, who is on the Arab
Chaldean Council's advisory corn-
mittee, recently received a call
from the agency when Congress
debated immigration reform. Dr.
Khoury said the senator was sup-
portive, listened to their concerns
and was open to hearing their
But, speaking for himself and
not the council, Dr. Khoury was
vague about his feelings toward
Sen. Levin's stance on Middle
The Washington Perspective
JAMES D. BESSER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDEN
n Washington, integrity is
too often a campaign slo-
gan, not a matter of daily
But, the Levin brothers —
Carl in the Senate, Sandy in
the House— have earned a
strong reputation among their
colleagues for a kind of integri-
ty that defies the expectations
of a skeptical electorate.
"It seems to be a Levin ge-
netic trait -- making sure ide-
ology doesn't stand in the way
of progress, but also that basic
standards of decency in go -v-
ernment are not washed
away," said Mark Talisman, a
political consultant and former
Washington director for the
Council of Jewish Federations.
For years, Sen. Levin has
pressed reluctant colleagues
to pass tougher campaign fi-
nance and lobbying reform
laws, an effort that has some-
times put him at odds with
Jewish and pro-Israel groups,
which have made good use of
the many loopholes in current
But, Sen. Levin's consisten-
cy, Mr. Talisman said, has
earned him enonno-us respect
even among the unconvinced.
"Both Carl and Sandy feel
very strongly about the in-
tegrity of the legislative
process," said Mr. Talisman,
who has worked Capitol Hill
describe this relationship as pos-
"They are a complex commu-
nity with many religions and in-
dividuals of various ethnic
origins," Sen. Levin said. "People
not only understand why I'm so
pro-Israel, but they also accept it
and expect it. That makes it eas-
ier for me than for non-Jewish
members of Congress who are so
Sen. Levin, who is joined in the
Senate by Republican Sen.
Spencer Abraham of Michigan,
who is a Lebanese-American, said
"We're all for peace," Dr.
Khoury said. "Our country has
its agenda and we, as citizens,
can't dictate foreign policy."
ach time Rep. Levin runs
for office, pundits de-
scribe the race as more
difficult than the previ-
ous one. From 1982, when he
first took office, until 1992, he
won his elections easily. Redis-
tricting from the 1990 census
moved his district further east
— into part of Macomb County
for almost four decades. "Like
his predecessor (Sen.) Philip
Hart, Carl is regarded by peo-
ple in both parties as the con-
science of the Senate."
Sen. Levin has also used his
position on the Armed Services
Committee to help reinforce
U.S.-Israeli ties, and he has
been a relentless advocate on
behalf of Jews in dangerous
places like the former Soviet
"Unlike a lot of legislators,
he does his homework," Mr.
Talisman said. "He knows the
issues, and he knows the leg-
islative process, and he's not
afraid to speak his mind."
Rep. Levin, he said, has a
want to see clean out their Wash-
"Both Levins are the kind of
lawmaker who believes the best
way to solve a problem is to
spend more money," said Lori
Tomek, spokeswoman for the
Michigan Republican Party. "We
feel you can solve a problem in
a more efficient manner. The
majority of Americans support
measures like term limits and a
balanced budget; the Levins are
Ms. Tomek said the Republi-
can strategy includes pointing