ELEBRATE Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue got off
to a rousing start in May at the Roosevelt Hotel where a score
of politicians tried to outdo each other in praise of the Jewish
Itís become a tradition for politicos leading
the parade to appear first at the annual legislative breakfast
of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, now known as Met
Under the direction of board chair Merryl H.
Tisch, 16 individuals received leadership awards for their
support of the councilís efforts to alleviate poverty in New
Rep. Charles Rangel insisted that the
safety of the United States depends totally on the security of
Israel, which is "the only center of democracy in that part of
Sen. Charles Schumer maintained that
settlements are not an impediment to peace. "Israel gave up
settlements in Gaza and what happened? Hamas sent rockets into
Sderot. The issue is that the Arabs do not believe in a
two-state solution and do not believe in the right of a Jewish
state to exist. They still believe in the destruction of
Mayor Michael Bloomberg too saw Israel
surrounded by nations who want to destroy it and said, "We donít
negotiate with such people."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn went
a step further when she said that "any attack on Israel is an
attack on New York City. All of us stand firm on this position."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told how she got
results in Washington when she secured "millions of dollars to
protect synagogues in New York with anti-terrorism money."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler sounded the alarm of
diminishing aid for the poor. He noted that some people believe
government should have no role in helping poor people. "There is
intent to take away Social Security and Medicaid," he said.
"Whether this country regains its moral footing,
to help those who work hard and still need help, is very much in
question," he warned.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney however was quite
firm: "We will not allow subsidies to oil companies while
cutting aid to Medicare."
Met Council came in for an overabundance of
praise. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein extolled executive
director and CEO William Rapfogel and president Joseph
Shenker for their programs of relief for the Jewish poor.
At that point Senator Schumer declared, "Baruch
Hashem [thank God] there is a Met Council."
Republican State Senator Dean Skelos had
something in common with Democrat State Senator Sheldon
Silver. "We are both Orthodox," he said. " Only he is Jewish
and I am Greek."