“Hi, I’m Ted Deutch and it’s my privilege to serve as your Congressman, thank you for having me.” I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard Congressman Deutch begin a session with my students with those sentiments, but I do remember the first time very well.
In August 2011 my family and I moved from Beverly Hills, CA to Boca Raton, FL. I began teaching my teen classes on Israel Political Advocacy in the Boca Raton Synagogue shortly after arriving in Florida. One of my new students was friendly with Congressman Deutch’s kids and he told Congressman Deutch about the new club. Congressman Deutch offered to talk to the teens. Within a few weeks, Congressman Deutch stood in our Synagogue and talked at ease to the teenagers for an hour.
That was my first time meeting Congressman Deutch and I was immediately struck by his humility and earnest commitment. There was no sense of ego you often find with elected officials. Like the rest of us in the room, Congressman Deutch felt that the United States and Israel shared values and were both safer with a strong relationship. He had dedicated his recent life to serving the public and saw strengthening the relationship between the United States and Israel as a member of Congress as one of the most effective ways he could serve his constituents, all Americans, and his people.
In the years since, I’ve gotten to know Congressman Deutch and his family very well. We’ve spent time in Florida, Washington and Jerusalem together. I’ve supported his re-election campaigns, talked about him as the quintessential Congressman and have hosted him in my home. Even though I moved to Israel three years ago, I’ve kept up my relationship with Congressman Deutch. As much as I appreciate our personal relationship, and the time he gives to my students, my admiration for Congressman Deutch stems from his tireless efforts at strengthening Israel.
Congressman Deutch serves as the ranking Democrat on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he stood strong against his President and party on the horrendous nuclear Iran deal saying, “I cannot support a deal giving Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in return for letting it maintain an advanced nuclear program and the infrastructure of a threshold nuclear state.” He also urged President Barack Obama to veto a Security Council resolution that called for an end to settlement activity in Israel. “Action by the UN Security Council will not advance the conditions for peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he warned.
Congressman Deutch stood against the UNESCO resolution that declared the Western Wall a Muslim religious site. He asked the US envoy to UNESCO to kill the resolution. “Palestinian efforts to claim exclusive ownership of religious sites and their denial of any Jewish claims to these sites, although Jews have prayed in them for thousands of years, reveal a central obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Palestinian refusal to acknowledge the very existence of Jews in the ancient Jewish homeland,” he wrote. He co-wrote a bill that would further strengthen the already close US-Israel relationship. It designated Israel a “major strategic ally” of the United States — no other nation has the same designation. He also charged the General Accountability Office to investigate US funding for the Palestine Investment Fund.
When we fulfilled our personal dream to move to Israel, we named a guest room for Congressman Deutch. We felt that the guests that come to our home in Israel should know about the American Congressman who works hard to ensure our safety. I love telling my Israeli neighbors and visiting American guests about Congressman Deutch. He is a true friend of Israel and we are blessed to have him on our side.