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December 06, 2002 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Republicans rallied around the leader-
ship's legislative agenda in what is
shaping up as an especially con-
tentious session. In an interview,
Cantor said his priority would be to
"ensure that the president has what he
needs to deal with the situation in
Iraq. And clearly the situation in the
Middle East is very tied to what's hap-
pening in Iraq."
During his first term in Congress,
Cantor emerged as a hawkish pro-
Israel voice in Congress. He has been a
leading critic of military aid for Egypt
and he is a lead sponsor of the Temple
Mount Preservation Act, which would
cut off aid to the Palestinians until "all
unauthorized excavations of the
Temple Mount stop."
Cantor ducked the question of
whether he would help lead opposi-
tion to any new pressure on Israel by
the Republican White House, but
said, "Uniformly, the House leaders
have been staunch allies of Israel and
believe that it's in the best interests of
the United States for that relationship
to remain strong.
Cantor's new clout may help .offset .
the departure of his only Jewish GOP
colleague, Rep. Ben Gilman, R-N.Y.
And Gilman's departure may mean the
end of the road for the Middle East
and South Asia subcommittee — tra-
ditionally a key venue for pro-Israel
activism in the House.
GOP leaders may axe the subcom-
mittee of the International Relations
Committee because of limits on the
number of subcommittees; some pro-
,Israel lobbyists are fighting the change.

Chanukah Fly-By .

It wasn't on his schedule, but
President George W. Bush got a bird's
eye view of the lighting of the 30-foot
Chanukah menorah on the Ellipse
outside the White House on Sunday.
Just as two senior administration
officials were getting set to light the
chanukiah, the president's official hel-
icopter roared overhead, bringing the
president back from his Thanksgiving
vacation at Crawford, Tex.
"I said that it was divine providence
that the president could come," said
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington
director for American Friends of
Lubavitch, the group that sponsors
the annual lighting ceremony. The
candles were lit by Jay P. Lefkowitz,
domestic policy adviser to the presi-
dent, and Dov Zackheim, a top
Pentagon official. The event also
included a performance by three can-
tors, backed up by the U.S. Army

Lubavitch also held its annual
Chanukah party for international
finance types at the Inter American
Development Bank. Also marking
Chanukah: a White House reception
on Dec. 4 for up to 300 Jewish lead-
ers from around the country.
According to sources, the adminis-
tration sought to reach outside the
usual New York/Washington leader-
ship cadre; there was a heavy empha-
sis on rabbis from other parts of the
Also this week: B'nai B'rith and the
American Jewish Committee got
together with India's ambassador to
host a Chanukah reception and can-
dle lighting at the Indian embassy —
part of that government's effort to
highlight Indian religious minorities.


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The New Rabbi By Stephen Fried

This it tens

Aid For Victims

Last week, President
Bush signed a bill that
included amendments
designed to make it eas-
ier for some victims of
terrorism to attach the
assets of foreign govern-
ments that support ter-
ror groups.
But the emphasis is
on the word "some." The legislation
will affect only a small handful of vic-
tims and families; it will have almost
no impact on several high-profile
cases involving Jewish victims.
The measure will allow victims to
collect judgments from a pool of
about $4 billion in frozen assets
belonging to nations officially deemed
sponsors of terrorism and from terror-
ist groups.
But Stephen Flatow, father of a
young New Jersey woman killed by
Palestinian terrorists in Gaza in 1995
and a leader in the movement to win
damages against state sponsors of ter-
rorism, said that only a handful of
families will benefit.
"It's absolutely a step in the right
direction, because every step we take
to hold state sponsors of terror
responsible for their actions is impor-
tant," he said. "But in real terms, its
impact will be limited."
Flatow won a $247.5 million judg-
ment against Iran, accused of funding
the Islamic Jihad group that murdered
his daughter, but so far has been able
to collect only a small portion. The
new law reduces the president's ability
to thwart victims who have already
won judgments against state sponsors
of terror. ❑

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By Jeffrey ondler

Newish Youth in

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