The Jewish People owe the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye “an immense historic debt,” Israel Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said after the pro-Israel senator died Monday at the age of 88 from respiratory complications.
“The Iron Dome system that recently intercepted hundreds of terrorist rockets aimed at our homes stands as enduring proof of his commitment to the defense of the Jewish State,” Oren said.
“A hero of World War II, Senator Inouye devoted his life to serving not only the people of Hawaii, but the entire United States…. When he was still a soldier, recovering from the loss of an arm in combat, Senator Inouye learned about the Holocaust and began a lifelong attachment to the Jewish people and, later, to Israel. His dedication to Israel’s security was unswerving,” he added.
Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi Levi Shemtov said he mourns the “discourse” that belonged to the senator, and the National Jewish Democratic Council called Inouye "a true mensch in every sense of the word."
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) called Sen. Inouye “one of the United States Senate’s most energetic advocates for Israel’s quest for peace and security, and the mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel relationship.”
“Inouye’s appreciation for the Jewish state began nearly 60 years ago, when, in 1951, he sold Israel Bonds in his native Hawaii.” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. Inouye once considered converting to Judaism but did not go through with his plan in order not to upset his Christian mother.
President Shimon Peres praised the Hawaii senator during a visit last year, telling him that “you stood by our side in the most demanding and difficult moments.”
Sen. Inouye was awarded the Medial of Honor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” in recognition of his leading an assault against the Germans despite his having lost an arm in fighting in Italy.
The Agudath Israel of America stated, “Senator Daniel Inouye will be sorely missed. Throughout his long and distinguished career in the U.S. Senate, he showed time and again his deep care for the wellbeing of the Jewish people -- here in the United States, in Israel and across the globe. Our community worked closely with him, and benefited greatly from the relationship. His commitment to Jewish causes was a matter of personal conviction, not political expediency.
“The expression is trite and terribly overused in the context of politics, but in Senator Inouye’s case it is absolutely apt: He was a true friend.”