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Hagel Meets with Top Jewish Leaders

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Top Jewish organizational leaders met with Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s defense secretary nominee, and Vice President Joe Biden.

A four-sentence statement Monday issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations described the Jan. 18 meeting in Washington as “an important opportunity for a serious and thorough discussion of key issues of importance to all of us.”

The statement, which also noted the presence at the meeting of the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, did not further elaborate.

The meeting came days after Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, conferred with top Jewish Democrats and apologized for a 2006 comment in which he described the “Jewish lobby” as “intimidating” and reassured them that despite his past skepticism of some sanctions on Iran and wariness of a military strike to keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon, he was now on board with President Obama’s postures on those issues.

Hagel, in those conversations with Jewish Democrats, also said he was a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship although he did not withdraw past criticisms of Israel.

JTA

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