Before a packed meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee three years ago, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) connected her political support for the Jewish state with her personal life.
“My daughter is Catholic. My son-in-law is Jewish,” she said. “Last week I celebrated my birthday and my grandchildren — ages 4 and 6 — called to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ And the surprise, the real gift, was that they sang it in Hebrew.”
Pelosi’s support for Israel is heartfelt
Now that the Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the party is expected to install Pelosi, 66, as speaker, making her the first woman to hold the position that is two heartbeats away from the presidency. Political observers say it’s no surprise that the congresswoman from San Francisco considers herself close to the Jews. The daughter of Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., a former mayor of Baltimore, Pelosi grew up in a Democratic family with Jewish neighbors and friends.
“She likes to say that, growing up in Baltimore, she went to a bar or bat mitzvah every Saturday,” Amy Friedkin, a former president of AIPAC and a friend of Pelosi’s for 25 years, wrote in an e-mail message to JTA. Friedkin noted that there’s even a soccer field in the Haifa area of Israel named after the lawmaker’s family.
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