Martin Oliner was pleased and gratified at the number of members of congressional leadership attending a recent Washington, D.C., meeting of elected officials and Jewish national groups.
Oliner, co-president of the Religious Zionist of America and the event’s organizer, told The Jewish Link he expected a handful of members of Congress. Instead, the Washington, D.C.-based event attracted 20 leading members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who are in support of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
“I thought that when I was going to make my remarks, there would only be three congressmen in the room,” he said. “But we didn’t end until almost 2:30 in the afternoon because of all the congressmen who were there.
“It was wonderful,” Oliner added. “Our conversation was extraordinary. We focused on Jerusalem and the future. It was an extraordinary day.”
Oliner said the event at one point reached standing-room only.
The idea to have the event came simply from Oliner and the RZA noticing they were receiving invitations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in many venues other than the nation’s capital.
“Our feeling was how could we leave our nation’s capital, given the important role Congress and Washington play in supporting the State of Israel, without a celebratory event for this important milestone. When I went to a broader list of colleagues in the Jewish community, their support for such an event was overwhelming.”
Congressional speakers included: Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Rep. Jacky Rosen (R-NV) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL).
The participating Jewish organizations included: Alpha Epsilon Pi, American Jewish Congress, American Zionist Movement, American Friends of Likud, AMIT, B’nai B’rith International, Bnai Zion, Emunah of America, Hadassah, State of Israel Bonds, Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, Jewish National Fund, Mercaz USA, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, National Council of Young Israel, New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Touro College, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, World Jewish Congress, World Zionist Organization, Yeshiva University and the Zionist Organization of America.
“We are gratified to see such robust support for Israel and Jerusalem across both aisles and houses in Congress and even in our own Jewish community as we have received for this initiative,” said Oliner. “We were pleasantly surprised that every member of Congress who joined us was supportive of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”