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Press Release
January, 2001

Were Deserving Jewish War Veterans Denied the Medal of Honor?
Wexler Bill will Require Review of War-time Records

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(Washington, DC) Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) has introduced legislation requiring the Pentagon to review the wartime records of Jewish American veterans who were previously denied consideration for the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Leonard Kravitz Jewish War Veterans Act of 2001 was introduced yesterday by Congressman Wexler with the bi-partisan support of Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).

The Wexler legislation directs the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to review the records of Jewish war veterans who were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross to determine whether their acts of bravery should have been recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor for their bravery. It is believed that lingering prejudice within the Armed Forces following World War II and the Korean War may have deprived deserving Jewish veterans of the nation's highest military honor.

The Leonard Kravitz Jewish War Veterans Act of 2001 is modeled after legislation that became law in February, 1996, which required an identical review for Asian American war veterans. Following this review, 21 deserving Asian American veterans were granted the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The legislation's namesake is Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, who was killed in action during the Korean War. Private Kravitz sacrificed his life by heroically remaining behind to man a machine gun turret to protect his division as they were forced into a retreat. Another U.S. soldier was awarded the Congressional Medal for a similar act of heroism during the Korean War, but Private Kravitz was unfortunately and unfairly rejected from consideration

 

CONTACT:  Josh Rogin

Phone:  202-225-3001
Cell (202) 225-4406

 

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