For 25 days, I have been sending you updates on Operation Protective Edge and how JFNA’s coalition partners are alleviating the impact of Hamas’ rockets on tens of thousands of Israeli civilians.
I am saddened to report that this morning, 90 minutes after a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire began, Hamas terrorists attacked an IDF unit decommissioning a tunnel, killing two soldiers and reportedly kidnapping Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest calls the reported kidnapping a “barbaric violation of the ceasefire agreement” negotiated by the United States and United Nations. Our prayers go out to his family, and all of Israel.
While our thoughts remain with our Israeli brothers and sisters, we want to acknowledge important developments in the Federation system. Below please find recent legislative news from JFNA’s Washington office.
May we continue to pray for peace, and for the safe return of Hadar Golin.
President and CEO
The Jewish Federations of North America
Jewish Institutions Awarded $12 Million in Vital Nonprofit Security Grants
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security awarded approximately $12 million in federal funding to bolster Jewish communal security. Jewish Federations have led the effort to secure the Nonprofit Security Grant Program for years, which helps institutions vulnerable to terrorism strengthen their security.
Federations Applaud Passage of Autism CARES Act
The House and the Senate recently approved the Autism CARES Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that will reauthorize funding at the National Institutes of Health for research relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Jewish Federations have been advocating for reauthorization of the law as well as improvements to it.
House Ways and Means Committee Unanimously Approves ABLE Act
The ABLE Act, which would help people with disabilities and their families plan and save for their future needs, cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Jewish Federations, which have supported the bill for years, view the vote as a huge step forward and will continue to advocate for its passage.
Federations Support Ratification of Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Jewish Federations are advocating for the Senate to ratify CRPD, an international treaty inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 22nd. CRPD will help reaffirm American leadership on global disability rights by allowing U.S. advocates to help other nations create policies that embrace the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, as well as ensure improved accessibility for Americans with disabilities traveling abroad.
Jewish Federations Applaud Move to Make IRA Charitable Rollover Permanent
The House of Representatives voted on July 17th to approve legislation that would create certainty for taxpayers and charitable organizations that depend on tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts to bolster their fundraising activities. Jewish Federations hailed the bill as a much needed legislative action that will provide strong financial support for the work done by charities across the nation.
Senate Votes to Extend Post-9/11 Terrorism Insurance Program
Jewish Federations applaud the Senate’s overwhelming approval of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which requires insurers to offer terrorism risk coverage and provides a federal insurance backstop for heavy losses. TRIA now needs to be approved by the House.