Will George Santos be replaced by an Ethiopian-Jewish legislator?

After politicians on multiple levels have called for Santos' resignation, local politicians are fishing for who could eventually replace his seat.

 Pilip speaking out against antisemitism. (photo credit: COURTESY / OFFICE OF MAZI MELESA PILIP)
Pilip speaking out against antisemitism.
(photo credit: COURTESY / OFFICE OF MAZI MELESA PILIP)

Local New York politicians are reportedly looking into replacing George Santos' congressional seat, and according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), Nassau County's Jewish Republican legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip is under consideration for the possible vacancy.

Pilip is an Ethiopian Jew who came to Israel as a refugee with her family as part of Operation Solomon, an Israeli military operation in 1991 that covertly airlifted 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel on 35 planes in only a day and a half. She later went on to serve in the IDF's Tzanchanim Paratrooper's Brigade. 

While studying at the University of Haifa, Pilip met her Ukrainian-Jewish husband who was living in the United States but had come to Haifa to study medicine. The two married and moved to the United States to start their life together there, moving around for her husband's medical rotations before settling in the largely Jewish community of Great Neck, New York.

Now, Pilip had been elected to her first seat as a Republican legislator for Nassau County, Long Island's 10th district. She took the place of the previously four-term incumbent Democratic legislator, Ellen Birnbaum.

Though this newly-elected politician is just getting started with her local work, she's got Congressional dreams she hopes to someday pursue. “I’m not going to lie to you, people are definitely asking me to run,” she told JTA in an interview while running her pre-Shabbat errands. “That doesn’t mean nothing.” 

 Recently elected politician, Mazi Melesa Pilip. (credit: COURTESY / OFFICE OF MAZI MELESA PILIP) Recently elected politician, Mazi Melesa Pilip. (credit: COURTESY / OFFICE OF MAZI MELESA PILIP)

At present, the Congressional role held by George Santos is not vacant. However, politicians at the local, state, and national levels have continually called for his removal from his recently-elected post in the 118th United States Congress. 

George Santos has no plans to resign

Officials of the Nassau County Republican party called on George Santos to resign after it was revealed that he had lied about his education, his career and his charitable work. Subsequent reporting by Jewish media showed that Santos also lied about being of Jewish descent and having grandparents who survived the Holocaust.

“Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I’m calling for his immediate resignation,” Joseph Cairo, the county party chairman said at the press conference’s opening.

Santos has said he has no intention of resigning, and the GOP Speaker, Kevin McCarthy of California, has not called on him to do so.

Santos wrested the swing district from a decade of Democratic control after the incumbent, Tom Suozzi, retired in a failed bid to run for governor. He defeated his opponent, Robert Zimmerman, who is Jewish, by eight points.

Santos stood by McCarthy during the most contentious intraparty contest for House speaker in a century. McCarthy was forced to deliver major concessions to the extreme right in his party to secure the speakership in a narrow vote, and already faces daunting obstacles in advancing an agenda because of the narrowness of his majority.