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Behind the Headlines New Leaders in Gop-controlled Senate

November 30, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The new leadership in the Republican controlled Senate, which was elected yesterday, is expected to maintain the pro- Israel position of the outgoing Congress, one of the most supportive ever of Israel, and may even improve on this record.

This includes Sen. Robert Dole (R. Kan.), who was elected Majority Leader; Sen. Alan Simpson (R. Wy.), who was elected Dole’s deputy; and Sen. Richard Lugar (R. Ind.), who will be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, when the 99th Congress convenes in January.

Outgoing Majority Leader Howard Baker (R.Tenn.), who is retiring from the Senate to seek the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1988, supported aid for Israel and other issues of importance to the Jewish State but he was not among the leading advocatedes of Israel in Congress.


But Dole, who is also expected to seek the Presidency in 1988, has been a staunch supporter of Israel since coming to the Senate in 1969. He has close ties to the Jewish community and frequently speaks before Jewish organizations.

Dole has supported all aid programs for Israel and, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, helped guide the Free Trade Association bill between Israel and the United States through the Senate this year.

While opposing the Carter Administration’s sale of F-15s to Saudi Arabia in 1978, Dole supported the Reagan Administration in its sale of AWACS to the Saudis in 1981. Speaking to the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last April, he urged support of aid to moderate Arab countries because of the Soviet threat to the Middle East.

Simpson has supported aid to Israel and, like most Republicans, voted for the Reagan Administration’s sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia.


Probably the most important result for Israel in yesterday’s Senate leadership elections was Lugar becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which became possible after Sen. Jesse Helms (R. N.C.) said he would remain as chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Helms, during his recent reelection campaign, had promised to remain on the Agriculture Committee to protect his state’s tobacco interests, but there had been strong pressure from the conservative right for him to take the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee created by the defeat of Sen. Charles Percy (R. Ill.). Helms has consistently opposed all foreign aid, including that to Israel, and has been considered by some to be anti-Israel.

Lugar, who is one of four Senators defeated by Dole for the Majority Leader’s position, has been building ties with the Jewish community since coming to the Senate in 1977. He is considered “good” on foreign aid for Israel but like the other two Senators voted for the AWACS sale.

Lugar is expected to go along with most Administration requests. He and the new Senate leadership are expected to look favorably on the expected Administration requests for arms for Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

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