Senators Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.) and Carl Levin (D.Mich.) the only two of the eight Jews in the Senate up for election this year, were both re-elected to their second six-year terms Tuesday. A third Jew running for the Senate, Edythe Harrison, a Democrat, was defeated in Virginia by Sen. John Warner, a Republican.
In the House, Elliott Levitas (D. Ga.), a five-term Congressman, was the only one of 30 Jews seeking reelection to be defeated. The number of Jews in the House stands at 30, with the election of John Miller, a Republican former television commentator in Washington.
This is one less than the present House because Rep. Richard Ottinger (D.N.Y.) did not seek re-election after 10 years in Congress. Oren Teicher, an aide to Ottinger, appeared Wednesday to have been defeated for the seat by Joseph DioGuardi, a Republican.
Israel was not a major issue in the campaign, and the new Congress which takes office in January is expected to be as supportive of the Jewish State as the outgoing one. But several decisions Tuesday may have some effect.
AN IMPORTANT DEFECT
One of the most important was the defeat of Rep. Clarence Long (D.Md.) after 22 years in the House, by Rep. Helen Bentley. The 76-year-old Long was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s sub-committee on foreign operations, and had been a leading force in Congress in pushing aid for Israel.
His replacement as chairman is expected to be Rep. David Obey (D. Wis.) who had been in years past considered lukewarm to Israel but recently has become “more sensitized,” according to sources.
In the Senate, Sen. Charles Percy (R. III.) was defeated by Democrat Paul Simon, considered a close friend of Israel during his years in the House. Percy, who had long had the support of Illinois’ Jews, lost it this year because of his criticism of Israel and his movement toward the Palestine Liberation Organization, despite his assertion that he supports Israel and his strong leadership in the struggle for Soviet Jewry.
THE PROBLEM WITH HELMS
Percy was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his successor may decide how that committee acts toward Israel. With the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate, next in line for the chairmanship is Sen. Jesse Helms (R.N.C.) who, along with Percy, was one of the two Senators targeted by many Jews across the country this year for defeat.
Helms, who was relected Tuesday, has opposed all foreign aid, including that to Israel and has frequently criticized Israel, most notably after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. He said at the time that the United States should “shut down relations with Israel” if Premier Menachem Begin did not agree to a cease-fire.
But Helms pledged in his campaign to remain chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, a post important to his North Carolina constituents.
At the same time, he is expected to come under pressure from the New Right, which worked for Percy’s defeat, to take the Foreign Relations chairmanship.
If Helms sticks to his promise, the chairmanship will go to Richard Lugar (R. lnd.) who is considered “good” by supporters of Israel. At the same time, there will be a Republican opening on the Foreign Relations Committee to replace Percy. In the House, all members of the Foreign Affairs Committee were reelected.
In another Senate race, Albert Gore, a Democrat who has a near-perfect record in the House on Israel, was elected in Tennessee to replace Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, who retired.
LINEUP OF JEWISH SENATORS
The reelection of Levin, a liberal Democrat, and Boschwitz, a Conservative Republican, means the Jewish contingent in the Senate remains at four Democrats and four Republicans. The other incumbents are: Chick Hecht (R. Nev.); Frank Lautenberg (D.N.J.); Howard Metzenbaum (D. O.); Warren Rudman (R. N.H.); Arlen Specter (R. Penn.); and Edward Zorinsky (D. Neb.).
THE LINEUP IN THE HOUSE
In the House the lineup is now 24 Jewish Democrats and six Republicans. The incumbents reelected are:
Gary Ackerman (D.N.Y.); Anthony Beilenson (D.Cal.); Howard Berman (D.Cal.); Barbara Boxer (D.Cal.); Sala Burton (D. Cal.); Ben Erdreich (D.Ala.); Bobbi Fiedler (R.Cal.); Barney Frank (D.Mass.); Martin Frost (D.Tex.); Sam Gejdensen (D.Conn.); Benjamin Gilman (R.N.Y.); Dan Glickman (D.Kan.); Willis Gradison (R.Ohio); Bill Green (R.N.Y.); Ken Kramer (R. Col.).
Tom Lantos (D. Cal.); William Lehman (D.Fla.); Sander Levin (D.Mich.); Mel Levine (D. Cal.); James Scheuer (D.N.Y.); Charles Schumer (D.N.Y.); Norman Sisisky (D.Va.); Larry Smith (D.Fla.); Stephen Solarz (D.N.Y.); Henry Waxman (D.Cal.); Theodore Weiss (D.N.Y.); Howard Wolpe (D.Mich.); Ron Wyden (D.Ore.) and Sidney Yates (D.III.)
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.