ISRAEL, STEVE (1958– ), U.S. congressman (d-ny). Born in Brooklyn and raised in Levitown, a Long Island community built on tract land after World War ii, Israel attended a local community college and then went to Syracuse and George Washington University, where he received his B.A. (1982). He immediately went to work on Capitol Hill, working for Robert Matsui and later for Richard Otinger. Intrigued by a career in politics, he returned to New York and ran for the Town Council and then, in 1999, for the Congressional seat that Rick Lazio gave up to run against Hillary Clinton. He handily won what had previously been a Republican seat.
His rise to leadership within the Democratic Minority was steady. In his first term, he passed more new measures in the House than any other freshman Democrat, most proudly a bill to accelerate research and treatment of ovarian cancer. In his second term, Israel was quickly tapped for a leadership position as assistant whip. He was one of only two New York members of Congress to serve on the vitally important House Armed Services Committee, and also on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees efforts to crack down on the international financing of terrorism. He was the founder and chair of the Democratic Study Group on National Security, co-chaired the bipartisan House Cancer Caucus, and co-chaired the bipartisan Long Island Sound Task Force. In his third term, Rep. Israel was appointed to chair the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Defense and Military, a group of 15 members of Congress who will outreach to the defense community and advise the House Democratic Leadership on military policy.
L.S. Maisel and I. Forman, Jews in American Politics (2001).
[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]