A young female millennial challenger has emerged from the ranks of New York’s Republican party to challenge veteran Democrat Jerrold Nadler in this year’s District 10 Congressional race.
Naomi Levin, a 35-year-old Jewish software engineer and daughter of immigrants to the United States, speaks four languages — including Hebrew and Russian — and is the classic image of the “new New Yorker.”
JewishPress.com caught up with the busy candidate, a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, in a wide-ranging interview conducted in typical 21st century style: via the internet.
JP: How do you feel about the performance of the Trump administration so far?
Levin: Obviously no one is perfect, and I don’t agree with every single thing he’s done. The important thing is not to make perfection the enemy of the good.
JP: One of the issues that we would like to focus on is that of security and the cooperative training programs that take place with Israel and the U.S.
Levin: It’s important that we have a strong and cooperative relationship with our allies in the fight against extremism. We have a lot to learn from Israel in counter-terrorism operations and can help Israel with their defense as well. It is an important alliance. We are a super-power and Israel is a regional-power – together we maintain ‘peace through strength’.
JP: Where do you stand on federal funding for non-public schools and services for special needs students?
Levin: I strongly support federal funding for non-public schools, such as successful charter school programs. This addresses the problem of the near-monopoly that Public schools have because they get a constant influx of students and taxpayer money regardless of performance. Thus, they have little incentive for improvements, innovation and customization.
There are successful charter school programs (ex: Success Academy), operating in the district; I can advocate for federal funding for these programs. In my district, the most Jewish district in the country, many parents pay taxes for the public school system, and yet do not get to take advantage of those funds because send their children to religious day schools. For those families, school vouchers and Education Savings Accounts from which up to $10,000 can be distributed annually to cover the cost of sending a child to “public, private, or religious elementary or secondary schools”, would be very helpful.
Most states have adopted this interpretation allowed by the ‘Tax cuts and Jobs Act’, but New York has not yet, and I am going to be an advocate for that. I am also a believer that federal funding should follow the student, not the school.
Parents of children who have special needs and require additional help should get help from the government, for example in the form of Education Savings Account funds to be used for such programs.
JP: The issue of U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights is a hot topic, as is the status of Judea and Samaria, and the issue of America’s role in dealing with Gaza. How do you view these foreign policy matters?
Levin: It should be for Israel to decide and for the U.S. executive branch to figure how to support our ally in those decisions. Congress should stand behind the president’s policies regarding decisions revolving around on our interests in the Middle East.
I personally think that for Israel’s security, they should respond (with U.S. support) to any hostile act by immediately annexing the so-called “Area C” (sparsely populated areas, now under full Israeli control).
The Golan Heights in particular is a vulnerable area as it’s been used as a launching pad for attacks against Israel in the past.
As for Gaza, I think it’s a complicated situation there, but I do believe that given how Israel’s security is being threatened from within Gaza (massive border breaches, and, this week, 120 rockets being launched into Israel etc.) it should be entirely under Israeli security control, so that all the terrorist structures there can be eliminated.
JP: Do you believe passports of children of Americans with dual Israeli citizenship living in Jerusalem should indicate “Jerusalem, Israel” ?
Levin: Yes, of course. Jerusalem is Israel’s historical and chosen capital.
(Information about Levin’s positions on other issues can be found here. Don’t forget to vote this year for the candidate of your choice on November 6.)