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May 4, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 4, 2018
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 4, 2018 PAGE 3A Mike Pompeo (JNS)--The U.S. Senate easily confirmed Mike Pom- peo as secretary of state on Thursday, elevating the former CIA director as the na- tion's top diplomat amid a slew of foreign-policy challenges. In a 57-42 vote, which included several moderate Democrats, Senate lawmak- ers moved quickly to confirm Pompeo, aware that the new secretary of state faces a num- ber of serious international issues, including whether or not to remain in the Iran nuclear deal, tensions with Russia, the breaking of ice with North Korea and the ongoing Syrian civil war. While his confirmation went smoothly, uncertainty surrounded his confirmation process within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over objections by Democrats. However, a last-minute switch to a "yes" vote by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) staved off an embarrassing rejection by the committee. Several American Jewish groups, including the Anti- Defamation League, openly opposed Pompeo's nomina- tion over his views regarding Muslims. The ADL claimed that Pompeo had "demon- strated a consistent pattern of casting doubt in the minds of cons~tuents about the trust- wortl~iness of their Muslim neighbors." Following his confirma- tion, the ADL wished Pompeo success in his new job. "Now that he is Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo will have an opportunity to play a lead- ing role in shaping American foreign policy--to help build respect for the United States around the world and help to ensure its security," said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. Nevertheless, the group urged Pompeo to uphold his pledges made during the con- firmation process, including "to manage affairs of state fairly and equally, defending the human rights and dig- nity of every U.S. citizen and State Department employee, and his assurances about the importance of U.S.-Israel relations, denying nuclear weapons to Iran and promot- ing Middle East Peace." The American Jewish Com- mittee also congratulated Pompeo on his confirmation. "As longtime admirers and supporters of the State De- partment's defense of Ameri- can interests andvalues across the globe, and as proud civil society partners in that vital mission, AJC congratulates you on your swearing-in as Secretary of State," said AJC CEO David Harris. Both the ADL and AJC urged Pompeo to assign a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as soon as possible. O "Given rising anti-Semi- tism globally, we urge Sec- retary Pompeo to appoint a qualified person to serve as the congressionally mandated position of anti-Semitism en- voy as one of his first orders of business," said Greenblatt. Almost immediately after his confirmation, Pompeo was set to fly to Brussels to attend a NATO foreign- ministers trip. The new top diplomatwill alsovisitseveral other countries next week, including Israel, a senior ornanla wl By AP and United with Israel staff Liviu Dragnea, the chair- man of the Social Democratic Party who effectively runs the Romanian government, said in a television interview late Thursday that the govern- ment had decided to move the nation's embassy from TelAviv to Jerusalem. His statement coincided with Israel's 70th Indepen- dence Day celebrations. On Friday, President Klaus Iohannis, who is in charge of Romania's foreign policy, said he hadn't been informed and that the decision lacked "a solid base." However, he said such a decision could be made "after a deep analysis which takes into consider- ation all the foreign policy consequences and implica- tions." The statement seemed to be an attempt to downplay Dragnea's assertion that the countrywas ready to soon join the US and move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Romania's foreign ministry said authorities were analyz- ing the situation and would consult and coordinate with "strategic allies." In December, Dragnea said Romania "should seri- ously consider moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusa- lem. We should think about it very seriously." "All Israeli central institu- tions are in Jerusalem, and the ambassadors and em- bassy's staff are commuting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," he said. He made his remarks short- ly after President Donald Trump's historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his announcement that the US embassy in Israel would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A few countries have shown support for Trump's move, Israeli official told Israel's Channel 10 news station on Thursday. It was also rumored in re- cent days that Pompeo could also lead a delegation to Israel next month to open the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. including the Czech Republic which recognized western Jerusalem as the capital of Is- rael following Trump's policy changes on the city. The Czech government's move on western Jerusalem follows the Czech Parlia- ment's approval of legisla- tion in May that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. In April 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry made a similar move to recognize "west Jerusalem" as the Israeli capital. Earlier this month, law- makers in Honduras voted to relocate the country's em- bassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Honduran lawmakers ap- proved the measure 59-33, which now must be confirmed by the executive branch. In March, Guatemalan President Morales announced that his country's embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. WASHINGTON (JTA)--The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to help Holocaust survivors and the families of victims obtain restitution or the return of Holocaust-era assets. The measure approved Tuesday requires the State Department to report on the progress of certain European countries toward the return of or restitution for wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets, includ- ing property, art and other movable property. It also re- quires a report specifically on progress on the resolution of claims for U.S. citizen Holo- caust survivors and family members. The Senate unanimously approved its version of the bill in December. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc and Marco Rubio, R-Fla are its lead sponsors. The World Jewish Restitu- tion Organization praised the bill's passage. "This is a powerful state- ment of America's unwavering commitment to supporting Holocaust survivors in their quest for justice," Gideon Taylor, the WJRO chairman of operations, said in a state- ment. The bill now goes to Presi- dent Donald Trump for his signature. HE Central Florida's Fastest Growing Segment of the Jewish Community I By Yori Yalon and Israel Hayom Staff (JNS)--As part of the May 14 ceremony to mark the official opening of the US Embassy, a mezuzah will be affixed to the embassy building. According to a Channel 20 report, organizers decided on the unusual move of holding a religious ceremony to install the mezuzah as a gesture to Israel and following the rec- ommendation of US Ambassa- dor to Israel David Friedman. At a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of Isra- el's founding at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on Monday, Fried- man said he sees Jerusalem as a religious place. "I hope that young Jews, in particular children, will connect to their Jewish and Israeli roots," he said. Meanwhile, preparations ahead of the May 14 transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem are continuing apace. Work is being carried out on the site on David Flusser Street in Jerusalem'sArnona neighbor- hood that currently provides U.S. consular services. When the embassy first officially moves, the U.S. Embassy will be situated in what is now the US Consulate building. According to reports, the US later intends to build a larger facility to serve as the embassy on an adjacent property. Prior to the initial opening, the US is paving an additional access road to the consulate building for Friedman and his staff, along with another escape route to be used in case of emergency. In addition, a new lighting system is being installed around the consul- ate to better illuminate the complex and make it easier to secure the site. A large security team has been stationed on the roads leading to the consulate building to carefully surveil individuals and vehicles ap- proaching the compound. While most local residents say they are happy about the US Embassy's transfer to Je- rusalem, some fear that the move will negatively impact their quiet residential neigh- borhood. Some residents have complained about the plan to erect a tall wall around the entire compound, which presently is surrounded by a tall see-through fence only on three sides. Yet while some residents have already filed their objections to the plan, those objections are expected to denied, as moving the embassy to Jerusalem is con- sidered an issue of national importance. The Jerusalem Municipal- ity, along with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, has been assisting the US to make sure the move of the embassy to Jerusalem goes as smoothly as possible. Advertising Deadline: 2, MORE INFORMATION, CALL-