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Weiner’s Exit Sets Off A Race To Be Israel’s Better Friend

Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the Democratic candidate to replace former Representative Anthony D. Weiner in a special election on Sept. 13, is a Modern Orthodox Jew who keeps kosher, observes the Sabbath and has been to Israel at least eight times. So it comes as a surprise that, at this early stage of the short campaign, New York’s Ninth Congressional District finds itself talking about an unlikely subject – whether Mr. Weprin, who is unabashedly pro-Israel, is the best pro-Israel advocate.

The coming special election in a heavily Jewish district of Brooklyn and Queens is, at least for that district, emerging as a potential referendum on President Obama’s proposals about the Middle East.

On Monday, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Democrat, endorsed the Republican candidate in the race, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, at a press conference at which he stood next to an Israeli flag. Mr. Koch has acknowledged that Mr. Weprin is a strong supporter of Israel, but argued that the election of Mr. Turner would serve as a rebuke to Mr. Obama for saying that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement.

Both Mr. Weprin, 55, and Mr. Turner, 70, have criticized the president’s position on Israel, and both promote their support for Israel on their campaign Web sites.

But Mr. Koch said that although he and Mr. Weprin had similar political ideals, he had concluded that Mr. Weprin could not be “an effective messenger” to Mr. Obama.

What did Mr. Weprin think of the former mayor’s concern? “My first thought is to quote one of Mayor Koch’s famous lines: ‘That’s ridiculous!’ It’s just absurd.”

The district is solidly Democratic, but conservative by New York standards, and Mr. Turner won 40 percent of the vote when he ran against Mr. Weiner in 2010.

Assemblyman Weprin’s relationship with elements of the district’s diverse Jewish community is also complicated by his vote in Albany in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage, which is opposed by Orthodox Jewish leaders.

Mr. Weprin is supported by the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, also an Orthodox Jew, who said Israel was “the No. 1 concern among Jewish voters.” But Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, dismissed the strategy of voting for Mr. Turner to send a message to Mr. Obama as “a political game.”


11 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, due to current president’s policies-pro arab,out of control spending, raising taxes, high unemployment- all of which affect all Americans including the frum community, Mayor Koch is right in sending any message that Representatives were sent by us to represent us. Voting for same sex marriage is a Chillul Hashem and shame on Weprin and Silver!! I hope our community recognizes that if we don’t revise Obama’s inept policies and we are on the brink of economic collapse chas v’sholom, the great USA will be just another great nation that disappeared! Wake up! THROW THE BUMS OUT!!

  2. Fact is that Koch has a long standing grudge against Weprin family and he is getting revenge by going against David Weprin who is very pro-Israel. It is very important that we have a strong representative for frum Jews. So come out and vote on September 13th.

  3. No one should question Weprin’s personal committment. HOWEVER…having said that…Weprin is too willing to compromise what he PERSONALLY BELIEVES to ingratiate himself to his Democratic handlers. …and the Toeva bill is only one recent example…there are MANY others. So it is to be expected that as Congressman, Weprin WILL FOLLOW THE PARTY LINE. …and that is why HE WAS CHOSEN by Boss Crowley. Although we may disagree with Koch on many things INCLUDING THE TOEVA BILL, in this case he is correct. It is about time that our community begins to show that they will not take the Democratic Parties’ promises on face value. Election of the Republican Turner in a “safe” district will sent shock waves to Washington and can only lead to the Torah community being taken seriously.

  4. Its such a big chillul Ha-shem that the NYT has to report that an orthodox jew- Weprin, voted in favor of same gender marriage. Oy ma yihye lanu leyom hadin ma yihye lanu lyom hatochochoh. This is truely a tisha bav.

  5. So don’t vote for a anti-Israel goy or a pro-Israel goy. We need as many frum yidden looking out for our interests in government as possible in these dangerous times. Toeva bill is a ridiculous non issue having zero impact on our lives.

  6. Jakyweb I beg to differ with you. Go look at what brought the mabul! Same gender marriage is what will bring the destruction of USA not having a silly congressman who happens to be a yid, but will sell his soul to be politically correct.
    We would much rather a non jew than a Jew who does NOT represent torah values!!
    Enough of this chillul Ha-shem!!
    It sounds like you are probably on Weprins campaign team or even Weprin himself.

  7. Let’s assume the Weprin does vote the Democratic party line on most issues. He won’t have to compromise one inch on Israel, since some of the most pro-Israel members of Congress are Democratic leaders (Steny Hoyer, Howard Berman, etc.) He’ll vote to protect social programs that frum people rely on, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. If he votes to raise taxes at all, it will only be on the very rich, most of whom wouldn’t live in his district. Congress doesn’t vote on issues dealing with same gender marriage–that’s a state issue, so it really won’t come up. Being frum won’t really affect Weprin’s voting records, but it will make it less likely that he embarrasses us with his personal life.

    I think we’re better off with a party-line Democrat than with a party-line Tea Party extremist like Bob Turner.

  8. #7 you sound like charlie hall. When you raise taxes on the “rich”, you raise taxes on everybody. It just gets passed right on down. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. To say nothing of the fact that a democratic wimp will just take orders from his dem handlers. Who needs that?!?

  9. #8, Almost every member of Congress votes the party line. Our choice is between a party-line pro-Israel Democrat, or a party-line Tea Partier. There is no party line moderate Republican running.

    And unless you can think of $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 4 years, our choices are either to lower our national bond rating, or raise taxes on someone. Tax cuts and deficits can’t last forever. And yes, raising taxes on anyone–even the very rich–will have some economic cost. But so will huge spending cuts, and a worse national bond rating. There’s no free lunch.

  10. #9 When congress spends within its means – not more than its income – cuts taxes and balances its budget, our rating will be A1. Which economist told you that cutting spending will damage our ratings? Perhaps it’s the Obama camp that is mistrustful about our economy. Also, since when are the Democrats the only ones who are pro Israel?

  11. If we cut taxes, and still didn’t want to have a deficit, then we’d need over $4 trillion in cuts over the next ten years. What shall we cut? Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Defense? Food stamps? There just isn’t 4 trillion (plus however much you want to cut taxes by) to cut without hurting ordinary people. Including many low-income members of the Jewish community.

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