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Saperstein: "Over a lifetime of public service Mr. Mitchell has demonstrated formidable talent as a consummate statesman and as a master at bridging divides."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 2009 - On the occasion of the appointment of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as Middle East envoy, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
At this critical time in the quest to achieve a lasting and peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we welcome the appointment of respected former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as Special Envoy to the region. I have known and admired Senator Mitchell for nearly 30 years. Over a lifetime of public service, including his time as United States Senator beginning in 1980 and as Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Mitchell has demonstrated formidable talent as a consummate statesman and as a master at bridging divides. He has a long time record of strong support for Israels security and knows the region well. His success as Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, resulting in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, gives us great hope that he will be able to facilitate a peaceful resolution for Israel and the Palestinians. History has shown the critical importance of a strong and constructive U.S. role in the peace process.
Senator Mitchells support from the highest levels of the new Administration, his relationships on Capitol Hill, and his global prestige, will serve him well in his new responsibilities. His authority to speak for the President and Secretary of State will be essential to his credibility.
We commend President Obama for prioritizing a resolution to the Middle East conflict by swiftly appointing so respected a leader to the post of Middle East envoy. The greatest contribution to Israels security is to create the conditions that will lead to an era of peace. We are confident that Senator Mitchell is the right man for this critical job.