New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) will not support fellow Orthodox Assemblyman David Weprin in the special election called for September 13 to replace the disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner. The congressional district covers Brooklyn and Queens and is home to many Orthodox Jewish voters.
The race had already drawn headlines when former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, recommended voting for the Republican to express displeasure over Barack Obama's policy towards Israel.
Hikind, a staunch supporter of Israel, did not employ this argument when he explained his decision. He emphasized that Weprin had lost his vote by bringing in his religion to back his vote for the gay marriage law that carried the New York legislature in June. The fact that he backed the law at all cost Weprin Orthodox votes.
"I will not support David Weprin," said the Brooklyn state Assemblyman
"Weprin basically used his Jewish orthodoxy to say gay marriage is OK. He used his orthodoxy to say gay marriage is kosher. That crossed the line," Hikind added.
The Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills recently staged a debate between Weprin and his opponent Bob Turner before a packed house. In the debate Turner tried to tie Weprin to the Obama administration, which has aroused a great deal of dissatisfaction in the district, particularly over fiscal policy.
Recently a Siena Poll showed that the race was surprisingly close in this traditionally Democratic district. Both the Republican and the Democratic national parties have decided to pour money and efforts into the local race, sensing that it may have national repercussions.
Turner has attacked Weprin for supporting the Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero, calling the center that will incorporate a mosque a provocation.
Weprin has disassociated himself from Barack Obama's call that peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on the 1949 armistice lines.