(JNS.org) Longtime New Jersey Senator Frank
Lautenberg, who died Monday at 89 from complications from viral pneumonia, was
praised and remembered fondly by Jewish groups for his support of Israel and
long record of public service.
The American Israel Public Affairs committee called Lautenberg a “tireless champion for the US-Israel relationship and the human rights of Jews and persecuted peoples throughout the word,” a message echoed by both Democratic and Republican Jewish groups.
“The late Senator leaves behind a distinguished record of public and Jewish communal service that distinguishes him as a giant among American Jewish political leaders,” National Jewish Democratic Council Chair Marc R. Stanley said.
“Frank Lautenberg was a staunch supporter of Israel and a leader in Jewish communal life. He served his country during World War II and in decades of dedicated public service,” Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said.
Lautenberg was praised by Jewish groups for his work in facilitating the immigration of Soviet refugees, including many Soviet Jews, under the 1989 Lautenberg Amendment.
“Senator Lautenberg was a dynamic activist on behalf of freedom,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris. “The landmark Lautenberg Amendment was a major step in turning the tide for the exodus of Soviet Jews. As we heard him say at several AJC gatherings, this was among his proudest achievements.”
The Jewish Federations of North America said the Lautenberg Amendment “continues to ease the immigration of refugees to this day.”
B’nai B’rith International praised Lautenberg’s patriotism and concern for Jews across the world.
“Lautenberg was a World War II veteran and a dear friend of the Jewish community. As a senator from New Jersey for more than 28 years, he was a staunch supporter of Israel, a champion of free emigration for Soviet and Iranian Jews, and a booster of the rights of Jewish refugees from the Middle East,” B’nai B’rith said.