Six Jews Elected to House of Representatives; Nine Re-elected
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Six Jews Elected to House of Representatives; Nine Re-elected

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Fifteen candidates elected yesterday to the United States House of Representatives are of the Jewish faith, representing a considerable increase in the number of Jews serving in Congress. Six new Jewish Congressmen were added to the nine already serving, who were re-elected.

With three senators of Jewish faith continuing their terms, the total of 18 Jews simultaneously in Congress may represent a record in the history of the nation. The senators, who were not up for election this year, include Sen. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican; Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, Connecticut Democrat; and Sen. Ernest Gruening, Alaska Democrat.

Five of the six new Congressmen of Jewish faith were elected in the state of New York. They included Lester L. Wolff, Democrat-Liberal, who upset the Republican incumbent, Rep. Steven Derounian; Joseph Resnick, Democrat, who unexpectedly won over the Republican incumbent, Rep. J. Ernest Wharton; Herbert Tenzer, Democrat-Liberal, who defeated Republican Rep. Ralph J. Endsell; Richard Ottinger, Democrat-Liberal, who wrested a seat from veteran Republican Rep. Robert R. Barry, and James H. Scheuer, Democrat-Liberal, who defeated Republican contender Henry Rose. Mr. Scheuer, a leading builder, once served as a news correspondent of the Overseas News Agency, and has been active in exposing and fighting religious and racial prejudice.

Re-elected in New York were Reps. Emanuel Celler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Leonard Farbstein, only Jewish member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Jacob H. Gilbert, Benjamin S. Rosenthal, Abraham J. Multer–all Democrats–and Seymour Halpern, the only Jewish House member who is a Republican. Former Congressman Sydney R. Yates, Illinois Democrat, regained a House seat he lost in 1982 when he unsuccessfully ran for the Senate. Mr. Yates saw interim service at the United Nations. Rep. Samuel N. Friedel, Maryland Democrat, Rep. Herman Toll, Pennsylvania Democrat, and Rep. Charles S. Joelson, New Jersey Democrat, were all re-elected.


Press association forecasts, predicting changes in the Cabinet, foresaw a possibility that President Johnson may soon appoint a prominent Washington attorney of Jewish faith, Abe Fortas, to the position of United States Attorney General vacated by Robert F. Kennedy who was elected to the Senate from New York.

The overwhelming national election victory of President Johnson indicated to Washington observers today a mandate to the Administration to continue the known attitudes and commitments involving American-Israel relations and against religious prejudice. President Johnson made clear during the campaign that this nation stood firmly committed to preserving the security and territorial integrity of Israel. He indicated that Israel’s economic and technical needs would be considered. It was clear that assistance would also include continued sales of American military equipment, like the “Hawk” antiaircraft missile soon to become operational.

President Johnson’s election also confirmed the continuation of the so-called “LBJ plan” for a joint American-Israel nuclear desalting plant, of massive proportions in Israel. This venture would provide Israel with facilities to develop the Negev through desalted sea water and inexpensive electrical power. This plan is now in advanced stages of study and planning, having made great strides since suggested by the President to Prime Minister Levi-Eshkol last June when the latter was the President’s guest in Washington.

It was learned today that President Johnson’s special counsel on the White House staff and personal adviser on Jewish and Israeli matters, Myer Feldman, will continue to serve. Mr. Feldman came to the White House with President John F. Kennedy and was asked to remain by President Johnson after the assassination last November.

Vice President-elect Humphrey, long an advocate of Jewish statehood and Israeli survival, served as a champion of the Israeli cause during the many years he served as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has visited both Israel and Egypt. He is Known also as an advocate of economic development assistance to Israel. Both President Johnson and the Vice President-elect stand for liberalization of American immigration laws and anti-bias measures.

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