Shorts: U.S.

Rice promises ‘enormous’ effort in Mideast

washington (jta) | Condoleezza Rice said she will spend “enormous” effort to bring about Middle East peace, but isn’t sure the Bush administration should send a special envoy for now.

“We all believe, and most especially the president, that we have a really good opportunity here, given the election of a new Palestinian leader and given the Israeli Gaza withdrawal plan, which is linked to the West Bank through the four settlements that would be dismantled in the West Bank as well,” Rice said at Senate confirmation hearings held this week to become the next U.S. secretary of state. “I expect myself to spend an enormous amount of effort on this activity.”

Rice said she would demur on whether an envoy is needed. “No one has objections in principle to the idea of an envoy, but it is a question of whether that is appropriate to a particular point in time in the process that we’re involved in,” she said.

Rice is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week.

RJC holds inaugural bash

washington (jta) | The Republican Jewish Coalition is hosting one of the centerpiece receptions this inauguration week for President Bush.

The RJC reception took place on the eve of the inauguration, atop the historic Hays Adams hotel.

Hundreds of activists from across the country had a rooftop view of the fireworks. “A lot of people worked very hard across the country,” said the RJC’s executive director, Matt Brooks. “It’s a way to celebrate and be together with friends.”

Chabad passes out Bibles to House

washington (jta) | Chabad sent a copy of the Hebrew Bible to every Jewish member of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) made headlines earlier this month when she could not find a Hebrew Bible for her swearing in; she refused the Christian Bible proffered by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and eventually borrowed one from Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.).