Israeli lawmakers reach out to US Jews on anti-Semitism

Source: Associated Press

By BOB SALSBERG

BOSTON (AP) — A group of lawmakers representing a cross-section of Israel’s political spectrum is reaching out to American Jews at a time when anxiety over anti-Semitic activity is running high in both countries, and amid uncertainty over the direction of U.S. policy toward the Jewish state under President Donald Trump.

The five members of the Knesset, or parliament, arrived in Boston on Tuesday after attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, where U.S. officials including Vice President Mike Pence and senior members of Congress pledged continued support for Israel. On Wednesday, the group will meet privately with Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker before concluding the visit with a discussion of anti-Semitism at a town hall-style meeting with members of the Boston-area Jewish community.

The meeting was planned during a wave of bomb threats against Jewish schools and other institutions, but prior to the arrest last week of a 19-year-old American-Israeli in connection with many of the threats. The man was said by his lawyer to suffer from a “very serious medical condition.” The lawmakers agreed that the arrest should not detract from the struggle to contain anti-Semitism in the U.S. or elsewhere.

“It is unfortunate,” said Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, a member of an opposition party. “I find it concerning, part of the worldwide battle against cyber, but I don’t think that is the issue.”

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