Councilman Dan Halloran, running for congress in a Democratic district that he hopes will become competitive with the help of northeastern Queens’ various Jewish constituencies, is back from last week’s trip to Israel and pointed to his “eye-opening experience” and the support he received there in a press release sent out this morning.
“Just like Americans, the Jewish people may build and live wherever they want,” he declared in the statement. “All free people have the right to live where they choose. I fully support Israel and the settlement in Judea and Samaria. I will never forget what I learned, saw and experienced on my trip to Israel. And when I am in Congress, I will be Israel’s most devoted advocate. The United States needs a secure, free Israel to make this world safer for all freedom-loving nations.”
Moreover, Mr. Halloran said he received the “personal endorsements” of Israeli elected officials, including Danny Danon, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset; Yaakov Katz, a member of the Knesset and leader of the National Union Party; Yuval Steinitz, the Minister of Finance; and Rabbi Nissim Zeev, founder of the Shas Party.
Mr. Halloran’s Democratic opponent, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, is unlikely to be especially impressed, however. Just a week ago she slammed him in the Jewish Week for supporting Ron Paul’s quixotic bid for the Oval Office.
“It’s great that Mr. Halloran says he would support Israel as a member of Congress,” she stated, arguing that Mr. Paul would undermine the Jewish state. “But it’s the president who dominates our foreign policy and commands our military, and it’s the president who arguably has more power in these areas than all of Congress combined.”
View Mr. Halloran’s full statement below:
Back From Israel, Halloran Reflects On His Time in the Holy Land
Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), a City Council Member and candidate for Congress, returned home from Israel on Wednesday after spending three days in the Holy Land, meeting with numerous elected officials and government leaders, and reaffirming his support for the homeland of the Jews.
Halloran received the personal endorsements of numerous elected leaders while in Israel, including Danny Danon, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset; Yaakov Katz, a member of the Knesset and leader of the National Union Party; Yuval Steinitz, the Minister of Finance; and Rabbi Nissim Zeev, founder of the Shas Party.
The Republican Congressional candidate’s three-day trip was full of activities, meetings, and sightseeing. On Sunday, Halloran met with Israel’s Minister of Culture, Limor Livnat, with whom he discussed American-Israeli relations and the looming Iranian crisis. He then visited the Holocaust Museum and the Tomb of Joseph in the militarized zone.
The following day, Halloran met with Katz and received his endorsement. The Councilman toured the Mount Olives neighborhood, then entered the Old City through the Damascus Gate. He visited Ariel Sharon’s apartment in the Muslim Quarter, which is in the Old Mediterranean Hotel, where Mark Twain stayed in the 1860’s.
From there, Halloran visited the Knesset, where he met with Rabbi Zeev and received his endorsement. He went to the Committee Chamber, where he met with Danon. Later on Monday, he visited the Gush Katif Museum, where he met with Rabbi Sholom Dov Wolpo. Dinner that evening was at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel, with guests including Daphne Netanyahu, the Prime Minister’s sister-in-law; Leak Shemtov, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset from the Yisrael Beitenu Party; and Dany Dayan, head of the YESHA Council.
On Tuesday, the Councilman and his guests received a special blessing from the Great Sage, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel. He visited the City of David, and said one final prayer at the Western Wall before heading to the airport to return home Wednesday morning.
“Now that I’ve been to Israel, seen its sights and met its people, I have an even greater appreciation for the dangers it faces,” Halloran said. “My trip was an eye-opening experience. I was amazed by the courage of the Israeli soldeiers who face death every day, by the Israeli leaders’ love of their country, and by the rabbis’ unwavering commitment to their faith. They reminded me so much of our soldiers, the American men and women who face death every day; and of the incredible patriotism and faith that powers the United States of America.
“Israel is truly our first line of defense in the war against terrorism. And as a democracy in a sea of instability and dictatorships, it’s a beacon of hope for the whole world. I was personally endorsed by prominent Israeli leaders because they see that I support them fully and share their values. They are dismayed by the weak leadership of President Obama, and they know that my opponent would simply be a cheerleader for the President if she wins. They know that America and Israel must have a deep, meaningful bond.
“Just like Americans, the Jewish people may build and live wherever they want. All free people have the right to live where they choose. I fully support Israel and the settlement in Judea and Samaria. I will never forget what I learned, saw and experienced on my trip to Israel. And when I am in Congress, I will be Israel’s most devoted advocate. The United States needs a secure, free Israel to make this world safer for all freedom-loving nations.”