WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel will name an Arrow anti-missile facility for Daniel Inouye, the longtime Hawaii senator who championed Israel in the U.S. Senate.
The Jerusalem Post first reported the naming last week, saying it was the first time that Israel had named a military facility for a non-Israeli. The naming will take place Jan. 14.
Inouye, who died in December 2012, was a Democratic senator for 50 years. He sold State of Israel Bonds in Hawaii in the 1950s before becoming a lawmaker and was active in pro-Israel issues during his long tenure in Congress.
For a time, Inouye considered conversion to Judaism. His interest in Israel stemmed from learning of the fate of the Jews in Europe after his own military service in Italy in the 442nd, a legendary unit of Japanese Americans, which earned him medals for his heroism.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised Israel for naming the base after Inouye, a top appropriator during his years in the Senate.
“The naming of this site after the late Senator Inouye is very appropriate since he deeply understood the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and he worked tirelessly and effectively to ensure that America’s ally, Israel, had the necessary resources to defend her people, particularly in the area of missile defense,” said the group’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann.