WASHINGTON (JTA) — The benefactor of a controversial Jewish development in eastern Jerusalem is a major donor to U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the new head of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee.
Irving Moskowitz, a retired casino magnate, and his wife, Cherna, gave the maximum $4,800 each to Ros-Lehtinen’s campaign in the most recent election cycle, Politico reported this week.
Cherna Moskowitz additionally donated $5,000 to NACPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee that contributed $10,000 to Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in the cycle.
The demolition of the Shepherd Hotel began this week in the Arab neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah in eastern Jerusalem in order to make way for a development for 20 Jewish apartments funded by Moskowitz.
The United States and others in the international community have condemned the project as disruptive to peace talks, but the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to use emergency powers at its disposal that would stop the private venture.
Ros-Lehtinen has said that she will use her oversight capacity to examine funding for the Palestinian Authority, especially if it does not return to peace talks.
PA officials have said that building in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank must stop before they return to talks.