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Israel at 63: Washington fete ahead of Netanyahu visit

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Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren; OMB chief Jack Lew, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) (Photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--When Israeli Amb. Michael Oren got a call from the White House to tell him Osama bin Laden was killed, Oren replied to his caller, "Mazel Tov." He told the story on Thursday night, at a celebration to mark Israel's 63rd birthday.

The reception comes before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's May 20 meeting with President Obama at the White House; he addresses Congress on May 24, where he is expected to discuss a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The embassy booked the Andrew Mellow Auditorium near the National Mall for the event, drawing about 1,000; remarks were also delivered by White House budget chief Jack Lew, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)

Also present: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

Pelosi told the crowd she was just back from a visit to Israel; when flying there from Qatar, Kuwait denied her aircraft permission to land, forcing the plane to touch down in Jordan instead.

And Pelosi did mention as she was wrapping up--her father was a shabbos goy--a term used to describe a non-Jew who helped Jews do tasks on Saturday--Shabbos--they would not be permitted to do.

Napolitano also had been in Israel, she said.

KIrk talked about the "great democracy from across the sea" ..."wrapping its arms around Israel."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 12, 2011 9:24 PM.

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