(JTA) — Robert Byrd, the longest-serving U.S. senator who criticized Israel but refrained from using his considerable power to cut its funding, has died.
Obituaries for Byrd, 92, a West Virginia Democrat, focused on the bookends to his 51-year career: His membership for several years before his election in the racist Ku Klux Klan and his unsuccessful effort to filibuster the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and his opposition in the last decade to the Iraq war.
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) has died at the age of 92 in a Washington-area hospital.
Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who became a fierce advocate for West Virginia, one of the Senate's most liberal members and a vehement opponent of the Iraq war, was not among the 95 best friends of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. Senate.
But that didn't stop him from winning the respect of colleagues in both parties who recognized his unmatched understanding of the legislative process and his ability to reach out to political adversaries.
Pols say reduced sum of $15 million in federal grants is insufficient to guard at-risk urban institutions.
In the aftermath of the foiled terror plot against two synagogues in Riverdale, local political and Jewish leaders are asking the federal government to increase security funding to urban nonprofit organizations they say are most at risk.
The Urban Areas Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program – a Department of Homeland Security initiative that originated in 2005 drastically reduced the total amount of such grants in 2007 from just over $24 million nationwide to $15 million .