By Stephen E. Lipken
Deborah Abrahams Weiner, UJA Federation Westchester Government Relations Chairperson welcomed over 100 citizens from Westchester and outlying Jewish communities to the Annual Westchester Government Relations Legislative Breakfast at the Jewish Community Center of Harrison (JCCH) on Friday, May 8, co-sponsored by UJA Federation and Westchester Jewish Council (WJC).
“This breakfast is an opportunity for the Jewish community and its leadership to hear from our elected officials, key decision makers from local, regional and national governments and for them to hear our priorities and concerns,” Weiner said.
“Few things in a democracy are more important than being informed. In this age of ‘Tweeting’ it is nice to hear from Congressman Engel and Congresswoman Lowey in the flesh. There is no shortage of issues, whether the Israel-Iran agreement—or non-agreement, our educational system, Common Core and high taxes. So hats off—kipas off for keeping residents connected with their leaders,” County Executive Robert Astorino noted.
“I will continue to fight for biomedical research, tax reform and educational initiatives that are so beneficial for our community,” Congresswoman Nita Lowey stated. “I am the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Chairperson Kay Granger and I are termed the ‘odd couple’ because we work so well together and stand united behind U.S./Israel relations, global security and Israel at the United Nations.
”With Eliot Engel we founded a Congressional Task Force for combatting anti-Semitism, not only in Europe but on our college campuses,” Lowey stressed
Engel averred, “Iran has eclipsed the Israel/Palestinian conflict. I believe in a two-state solution with separation for security. The Sunni Arab states had trade relationships with Israel before the Mossad blew up some terrorist sites and they backed off. But the Arabian ambassador told me, ‘Listen to Israel. Listen to the Egyptians.’ Mentioning Israel means there is a chance for potential agreement.”
Guest speaker Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul warned that terrorists not only stem from our southern border but Canada as well. “There is a Hezbollah threat in Toronto; four bridge crossings could bring them to New York.”
On an optimistic note, Hochul mentioned Economic Development Councils instituted by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County’s enviable 4.7% unemployment rate. “We want to raise the minimum wage. You cannot raise a family on $16,000 a year,” Hochul added.