OU leaders meet with White House staff, senators


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leaders of the Orthodox Union met with top administration officials and with U.S. senators.

Members of synagogues and organizations affiliated with the umbrella body met Wednesday with top National Security Council staff and discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship, the peace process and Iran sanctions, as well as education and energy policy.

"The O.U. delegation had extensive and candid discussion about Obama Administration policies toward Israel and the Middle East with Denis McDonough, the chief of staff of the National Security Council, and Dan Shapiro, Senior Director for Mideast Affairs," an O.U. statement said.

The Orthodox Union has been among the sharpest critics of Obama administration pressure on Israel to freeze building in eastern Jerusalem.

The OU’s annual Senate luncheon is one of the best attended among Jewish groups by U.S. senators.

Participants include Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

"As at the White House briefings, the key issues of the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, the U.S.–Israel relationship, and key domestic policy issues were discussed," the statement said.

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