(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YO RK – The House of Representatives unanimously passed three bipartisan Israel-related resolutions on Monday, honoring the life and work of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, encouraging the conclusion of a robust US defense deal with the Jewish state and highlighting the needs of living Holocaust survivors.
The resolution on Wiesel, passed by voice vote, “honors the life, work and legacy” of the iconic figure and extends the government’s “deepest sympathies to the members of Elie Wiesel’s family.”
The House “reaffirms Elie Wiesel’s efforts to preserve the memory of those who perished and prevent the recurrence of another Holocaust, to combat hate and intolerance in any manifestation, and to never forget and also learn from the lessons of history,” it reads.
The bill was originally introduced on July 7, a few days after Wiesel’s passing, by Congressman Steve Israel (D-New York), Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-Pennsylvania) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Florida). All three are appointed members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
“Elie Wiesel’s tremendous impact has reached millions across the globe, and I believe he is truly one of the most influential and important figures of our time,” Steve Israel said. “He educated the world about the atrocities of the Holocaust and engraved the meaning of ‘never again’ in our hearts and minds.”
Deutch also coauthored the two other resolutions that passed on Monday. Several members had already written to the White House calling for a “robust” new Memorandum of Understanding that expands defense aid to Israel – an agreement that is slated to be the biggest package of foreign military financing in US history.
That resolution calls for “expeditious consideration” of the deal, and indeed, Obama administration officials suggested hours later that the agreement is likely to be signed within days.
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The third and final resolution, which passed concurrently through the House and Senate, expresses Congress’s support “for the goal of ensuring that all Holocaust victims live with dignity, comfort, and security in their remaining years.” Critically, it urges the German government to “reaffirm its commitment” to the remaining survivors.
Germany should “comprehensively address the unique health and welfare needs of vulnerable Holocaust victims, including home care and other medically prescribed needs,” it reads.
“Congress has signaled that our ally Germany can and must do better,” Congressman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) said in a statement on its passage. “The announcement by the Claims Conference and Germany earlier this summer that all caps on home care needs were to be lifted has been found to be less than accurate. The current process has been wanting and riddled with problems, and that is why Germany must move to fulfill its obligations to all survivors directly.”
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