Chuck Hagel added three major Jewish Democrats to his list of endorsers, clearing his way to likely confirmation as secretary of defense.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) each said they were satisfied Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, would advance the U.S.-Israel security relationship and would make a priority of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I know some will question whether Sen. Hagel’s assurances are merely attempts to quiet critics as he seeks confirmation to this critical post,” Schumer said in a statement Tuesday, a day after he conferred with Hagel. “But I don’t think so. Sen. Hagel realizes the situation in the Middle East has changed, with Israel in a dramatically more endangered position than it was even five years ago. His views are genuine, and reflect this new reality.”
Lawmakers generally take their lead on sensitive issues from colleagues who are affiliated with the interest group in question, and the endorsement of Jewish senators has been seen as critical to Hagel getting the job.
Also endorsing Hagel was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Hagel had drawn fire for past criticisms of Israeli policy, skepticism about the efficacy of unilateral Iran sanctions, wariness of the repercussions of a military strike on Iran, and willingness to engage with Iran and some terrorist groups, while also maintaining degrees of isolation.
In conversations with Schumer, Boxer and Wasserman Schultz, Hagel also apologized for having said the “Jewish lobby” is “intimidating” in a 2006 interview.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) recently said that all of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, has never been used as a place of worship throughout history by anyone besides Muslims “until the ominous Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917.
In David Levy’s case, it’s at least 33 million miles.
That’s how far away an asteroid discovered by Levy, who earned a Ph.D degree in the university’s English department in 2010 and serves as president of the National Sharing the Sky Foundation, is located – depending on the time of year. Levy this week named the 2-kilometer-across piece of rock in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Hebrewu.
The asteroid, according to a statement issued by the school, “poses no threat to Planet Earth and is not expected to draw near any time soon.”
As the discoverer of such a heavenly body, Levy has the prerogative of giving it a name recognized by the International Astronomical Union’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature. Levy’s first choice, Hebrewuniversity, was considered too unwieldly. For scientific purists, the asteroid is also known as Asteroid 271,763.
The Montreal native, who has played a part in discovering 22 comets and 150 asteroids – including Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which collided with Jupiter in 1994 – discovered Hebrewu with his wife, Wendee, also based at the Jarnac Observatory in Vail, Ariz., and Canadian researcher Tom Glinos.
Hebrew is one of a score of universities for which an asteroid is named.
The university, said President Menachem Ben-Sasson, “is delighted by Dr. Levy’s extraordinary gesture and is proud to join the exclusive list of institutions whose names are recorded among the stars.”