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GELT COMPLEX: Jews Back DC Bill, UJC Head Slaps Israel

Jews Back DC Bill

A campaign to win congressional representation for the District of Columbia is winning support from a broad array of Jewish organizations and individuals.

The District of Columbia Voting Rights Act was approved by the House in April and is now awaiting a Senate vote. The goal of the bill is to provide the District’s 600,000 residents with a voting representative in the House, a privilege that so far has been denied to the citizens of the nation’s capital.

The Union for Reform Judaism is actively supporting the bill and has called upon the Senate to approve the measure, citing the Jewish interest in full suffrage. Other supporters include the American Jewish Committee, the local Jewish Community Relations Council and a number of Washington synagogues.

Several prominent figures from the Jewish community in Washington are also playing a leading role in the voting rights push. “As a Jew whose mother suffered from the Nazis and the taking away of all our rights, I believe I am especially sensitive to the citizens of D.C. not having full voting rights like the rest of the nation,” filmmaker Aviva Kempner said. Kempner is a board member of DC Vote, the local advocacy group working on this issue.

The White House threatened to veto the legislation if it is approved by Congress.

Nathan Guttman

UJC Head Slaps Israel

The head of America’s umbrella organization for Jewish federations publicly slapped the Israeli government for its slow response to disasters.

Howard Rieger, president and CEO of the United Jewish Communities, told YNet Radio that the government has been negligent in dealing with the bombing of cities in southern Israel.

“We were engaged on day one of this second emergency, confronting the fact that we had bomb shelters that weren’t fully outfitted,” Rieger said during a tour of Israel.

The UJC has poured millions of dollars from American federations into Sderot and other Israeli towns that have been hit by missile fire from Gaza.

Rieger said that the Israeli government’s lack of preparedness “frankly creates a little bit of a frustration” because the government has had plenty of time to ramp up its bomb shelters. “We’re still confronting bomb shelters that aren’t outfitted properly in Sderot that’s been under fire for seven years, and a year after this latest emergency.”

In separate interviews, Rieger took issue with the government’s slow pace in processing immigrants from Ethiopia.

— Nathaniel Popper

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