Kennedy's cancer could signify loss of profound Israel ally

According to some medical experts the elder statesmany could die in less than a year.

ed kennedy 88 (photo credit: )
ed kennedy 88
(photo credit: )
US Sen. Ted Kennedy's recent diagnosis of brain cancer could signal the loss of one of Israel's most powerful and high-ranking US allies. According to some medical experts, Kennedy, a staunch supporter of Israel for more than four decades, could die from malignant glioma, or brain cancer, in less than a year. Kennedy, who was elected to the Senate in a 1962 special election, has championed the Israeli cause throughout his tenure - proposing and pushing through major legislation such as a 1992 bill that aimed to guarantee $10 billion for refugee resettlement in Israel, a 2006 bill expressing Israel's right to self defense against terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hizbullah and a 1995 bill honoring the life of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. As the second-highest ranking member in the Senate, Kennedy's seniority allows him to force legislation to the Senate floor for debate that would otherwise die; his exit could make it harder for controversial legislation to see the light of day. While Kennedy's power base is in his home state of Massachusetts, his supporters are anything but a local crowd. The senator entertains support from the coasts of California to the city streets of Atlanta, especially among the Jewish community. Kennedy, who has made several trips to the region, has made his support for Israel known in many speeches throughout the years. In a 1983 speech at Liberty Baptist College, Kennedy discussed the Israel-Palestinian conflict, saying, "There is no one in the Senate who has stood more firmly for Israel than I have. Yet, I do not doubt the faith of those on the other side. Their error is not one of religion, but of policy. And I hope to be able to persuade them that they are wrong in terms of both America's interest and the justice of Israel's cause." In a 2002 speech criticizing the Bush Administration's Middle East policy, Kennedy noted the escalation of tensions between Arab countries and Israel. "[It's] spiraling out of control [and] could draw the Arab world into a regional war in which our Arab allies side with Iraq, against the United States and against Israel. And that would represent a fundamental threat to Israel... and international order," Kennedy said. In a recent statement, The National Jewish Democratic Council said, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sen. Edward Kennedy and his family at this difficult time. Kennedy is a powerhouse in the Democratic Party and has been a fighter for all Americans." The council called him a "strong supporter of the Jewish community" and wished him a speedy recovery. The Orthodox Jewish community in America has also expressed shock towards Kennedy's diagnosis, with members calling on the community to pray for his recovery.