OU Hosts Town Hall Between Senator Menendez and Orthodox Jewish Community

Posted on October 23, 2006 In Press Releases

UOJCA Hosts Town Hall Between Senator Menendez and Orthodox Jewish Community

Declares he will always be “one vote” in support of Israel; willingness to explore tax credits and other ways to assist parents paying for K-12 education expenses

The Orthodox Union, through its Institute for Public Affairs, facilitated a meeting between the Bergen County Orthodox Jewish community and US Senator Robert Menendez. The meeting, attended by approximately fifty community leaders and members, took place Sunday evening, October 22 at Congregation Rinat Yisrael, a UOJCA member congregation.

OU-IPA Commission member Dr. Ben Chouake introduced the Senator who discussed a range of topics including Iran, Israel, education, senior care and energy independence. The Senator spoke of his work as a Congressman to keep US contributions to the IAEA from funding Iran’s Bushir nuclear reactor as well as his work in the Senate with Republican Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania in pressing for passage of the Iran Freedom Support Act.

He stressed his fourteen years of solid pro-Israel voting, despite representing a Congressional District with a large Arab American constituency, and told of leading a trip to Israel as House Democratic Caucus Chairman, so colleagues who had never been to Israel might better understand the danger Israel faces.

Senator Menendez declared that support for Israel is in the “national security interest and the national interest” of the United States and that so long as he is in the Senate he will be “one vote” in support of a strong, secure Israel.

Turning to domestic affairs, the Senator spoke of the need for more focused homeland security and target hardening, specifically for New Jersey’s “chemical coastway” an area the FBI classifies among the most dangerous two miles in the nation.

Finally, responding to a question from the audience, Senator Menendez stated that though he opposes school vouchers, he supports exploring using the tax code to assist parents trying to pay for K-12 education, saying he looks forward “to working with the Orthodox Union and others” to discuss potential ways to assist parents making such choices.

Nathan J. Diament, the Union’s Director of Public Policy stated “We thank Senator Menendez for taking the time to meet with the Orthodox community for this frank exchange of views on the future of New Jersey and the nation and on matters of policy affecting our constituency and all New Jerseyans.”

Editors Note: This event constitutes no endorsement of a particular candidate for office. The UOJCA previously facilitated a similar Town Hall meeting at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in July with State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., the Republican nominee for US Senate.


IPA/Public Affairs