Knesset Members Carefully Talk About U.S. Election

Tags: Federation, Israel, Overseas

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Meir Cohen, from left, looks on as Michal Rozin talks to Nachman Shai. All are Knesset members.

by Ed Wittenberg

Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

A member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, was not afraid to take a stand on the 2016 U.S. presidential election May 3 during a visit to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Mandel Building in Beachwood.

Michal Rozin, a Knesset member since 2013 from the Meretz party, said as a feminist she hopes the new leader of the U.S. will be a woman, meaning Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State.

“It’s not a political observation,” she said. “It’s a feminist observation.”

Meanwhile, Meir Cohen and Nachman Shai said it would be improper to comment.

But Cohen, a representative of the Yesh Atid party and a Knesset member since 2013, said the Israeli legislature is closely monitoring it.

“But I think it’s extremely important that all of us are respectful and hold the line about not commenting on the election, and I have personal criticism for the Israeli prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) who did get involved,” Cohen, who spoke Hebrew, said through an interpreter. “The American people will decide which president they should elect, and I hope that the unconditional support for Israel, which is extraordinarily important to us, will not be damaged.”

Rebecca Caspi, senior vice president of global operations and director general of Jewish Federations of North America, served as Cohen’s interpreter.

Shai, a Knesset member since 2009 on behalf of the Zionist Camp, said “it would be unwise of us to take any position when it comes to the U.S. presidential election.

“This is a worldwide important issue, but at the same time, we are not supposed to take sides,” he said.

The visit was co-sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel, JFNA in Israel and the Jewish Federations of Cleveland, Dallas and Miami.

Shai said those organizations invited the group to travel to Cleveland, and later to Dallas and Miami, “to come and learn about Jewish American life in this country today.”

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