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JCPA Insider
Volume 13, Number 11
March 29, 2010

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In This Issue
Insider Update
Iran Initiative
Israel Advocacy Initiative
This Week in Washington

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The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

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Iran Initiative
Iran Sanctions Top Concern at G-8 Meeting. Iran's nuclear program is of "critical concern" and will top the agenda when foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations meet Monday, March 29 to discuss global security, Canada's foreign minister said. Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said he'll press for stiffer sanctions against Iran when G-8 ministers assemble in Gatineau, Quebec for the meeting which begins Monday evening and continues through Tuesday, March 30. The United States and its Western allies have been pushing for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful means only, but Western powers believe the country is working to produce an atomic weapon."Unfortunately I believe we are left with little choice but to pursue additional sanctions against Iran ideally through the United Nations Security Council," Cannon said. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be attending the meeting that comes just days after their countries struck a landmark agreement cutting their nuclear arsenals by a third. Read the article from the AP here.

White House Adviser: World Has United Against Iran. A top White House adviser says the U.S. is making progress in its efforts to find allies to hold the line on Iran's nuclear ambitions. David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union" that at the start of the Obama administration, Iran was united while the world was divided on how best to deal with Iran. Axelrod says the situation is now reversed - the world is coming together while Iran itself is divided. He says he's pleased with the cooperation that the Russians have offered and believes Moscow will support fresh penalties against Tehran. Read the article from the AP here.
JCPA/Jewish Federations
Israel Advocacy Initiative
Thousands Mourn IDF Officer and Soldier Killed in Gaza. Thousands attended the funerals on Sunday, March 28 of Major Eliraz Peretz and Staff Sergeant Ilan Sviatkovsky, the Israel Defense Forces officer and soldier killed during a shootout with Gaza militants. Peretz and Sviatkovsky were killed Friday, March 26 while pursuing a group of Palestinian militants trying to lay mines near the border fence. Two other soldiers were wounded in the incident, and two militants were killed. Peretz was buried on Sunday morning at the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem, and Sviatkovsky was laid to rest at the military cemetery in his hometown of Rishon Letzion. Peretz died 12 years after his older brother Uriel was killed in an operation in Lebanon in 1998, having, too, served in the Golani Brigade. Read more from Haaretz here.

PA Purges Hamas-linked Educators.
The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank has over the past two years fired hundreds of school teachers and imams suspected of being affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian sources in Ramallah disclosed on Sunday, March 27. The firings are seen in the context of the PA's efforts to prevent Hamas from taking control over the West Bank. The teachers and imams have threatened legal action against the government on the grounds that their dismissal was "politically motivated." In a related development, PA "military courts" in the West Bank have begun sentencing Hamas supporters to various terms in prison. The PA had come under criticism for holding hundreds of Hamas supporters and activists in custody without trial. Read more from the Jerusalem Post here.
This Week in Washington

This Week in Washington.   This Week in Washington.   President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan over the weekend to evaluate the current military operations and meet with Afghan President Karzai.  He will return to Washington this week and host the second annual White House Seder.  Congress has recessed for the holidays.  The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this week. 

Congress writes to Clinton regarding 'unbreakable' U.S.-Israel bond.  About 330 Representatives and half the Members of the Senate wrote to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressing "the unbreakable bond that exists between the United States and the State of Israel".  The letters were sent in the wake of recent tensions between the Administration and the Israeli government over the approval of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden's visit to Israel.  On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with several Members of Congress including the leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate.  To read the full text of the House Letter, click here. To read the full text of the Senate letter, click here.

Housing.  On March 26, the Obama administration announced several new policies in an expansion of the government's response to the foreclosure crisis.  These measures are designed to ease the burden on those heavily affected by the recession, such as the unemployed.  The administration does not contend that these policies will stop the home foreclosure crisis.  Rather, this new program in concert with other policies should ease the impact on families facing foreclosure. For details on programs that will be enacted between now and the fall please go to this website.

Unemployment Insurance.  The Senate adjourned last Friday, after failing to pass a 30-day extension (H.R. 4213) of unemployment insurance and COBRA (a health insurance subsidy for the unemployed). These benefits will expire on April 5th while Congress is on recess.  The 30-day extension was necessary prevent more than 200,000 unemployed workers from losing these vital benefits. State unemployment aid generally runs ends after six month making those jobless for extended periods of time dependent on federal benefits.  A cloture vote (to end debate) is now scheduled to take place on April 12 the first day when Congress returns.  Under Senate rules, debate could continue another two days before proceeding to a vote.  Since the House has already passed this extension, H.R. 4213 would go directly to the President for his signature if the Senate adopts the measure unchanged.  In a final act before Senators left for a two week recess, Senator Reid (NV-D) allowed debate on the issue to remain open until March 31st.  While it is highly unlikely, Senator Reid preserved the possibility to can call the Senate back into session to vote on the extension.

Healthcare.  On March 23rd President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) in to law. The House (226-207) and the Senate (56-34) then passed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), a smaller measure that contains improvements to the health care law. President Obama is expected to sign the final piece of the health care package in to law on Tuesday, March 30th.

Education.  Alongside the Healthcare provisions, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) made significant changes to the federal student loan program.  This legislation would expand the direct student loan program and end parallel program of private federally guaranteed loans.  This is expected to save $61 billion dollars which will be redirected to increased Pell Grants and funds for community colleges.

Child Nutrition.  On Wednesday, March 24th the Senate Agriculture Committee marked-up Senator Lincoln's (AR-D), Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, reauthorizing the child nutrition programs. The committee unanimously passed the bill. JCPA's statement on this legislation can be found here

Contribute to JCPA

The JCPA Needs you!  With a nationwide network of JCRCs and Federations and the strength of 14 national Jewish organizations, the JCPA is the Jewish community's most effective advocate for the issues that matter most.  Our annual Leadership Appeal campaign seeks to raise $200,000 in 2010.  We know you care about the JCPA and the work that we do on behalf of the Jewish community here, in Israel and around the world.  Your support is crucial to our success.  To make a gift to the JCPA, please click here.  If you can multiply your gift by planing a parlor meeting in your home for friends and colleagues, contact Dana Hartman, Development Associate at 212.684.6953 or dhartman@thejcpa.org.

We thank you for your generous support!

Contribute Now!

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