Thursday, the 113th US Congress was sworn in without some of the most prominent pro-Israel voices that have been heard in recent years on Capitol Hill. The number of Jewish representatives has dropped since 2010 and those holding senior positions, standing pro-Israel, who either retired or lost their races for seats are: Sen. Joe Lieberman (Connecticut), Rep Howard Berman (California) and Gary Ackerman (New York.). Other prominent voices for Israel who lost their races are: Reps. Steve Rothman (New Jersey) and Shelley Berkley (Nevada). With voices less strong for Israel and with some of the new faces less seasoned on Middle East issues, we are hoping that support for Israel will not waiver with this Congress.
Some other changes: Robert Menendez (New Jersey), on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to take the place of John Kerry, who is anticipated to be Hillary Clinton’s replacement for Secretary of State. Menendez has been influential with strict sanctions on Iran.
Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, who has made Israel one of his top issues, will be taking over for Howard Berman as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Gary Ackerman, who was the ranking member of the HFAC’s Middle East subcommittee, is likely to be replaced by California Rep. Brad Sherman, another strong Israel backer.
HFAC Chairwoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen (Florida) will be leaving the post as part of the GOP leadership rotation, with Ed Royce (California) as her replacement. We already have seen Ed Royce making a stand for Israel and the Jewish community. Ed Royce and Gary Miller, local to Orange County have shown great support!
The roles of the leaders just mentioned may have changed, but your role has not. Song For Israel strongly encourages you to put these names on your regular prayer list. Pray for those newly appointed, that God will put in them a strong sense of support for Israel. Pray for those who have moved into new positions that they would continue to make a difference and have a loud voice as pro-Israel leaders. And don’t forget President Obama…pray that God instills in him an unwaivering stand in support of the tiny little nation God loves.