Former Levittown resident Howard Israel, father of U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills, died at his Phoenix home this past Friday of complications from lung cancer. He was 78.
Israel, who worked as a salesman for General Semiconductor Industries, moved to Wantagh in 1968 after previously living in Levittown, Queens and Brooklyn. before moving to Arizona later in life, according to an obituary in Newsday [subscription required]. While living in Arizona, Israel was an active supporter of Democratic candidates and voiced staunch opposition to President George W. Bush.
Rep. Israel told Newsday of his father:
"He wasn't particularly political until after I entered public service -- and then he became relentless about politics... He was to the left of me."
Rep. Israel, a MacArthur High School graduate who was first elected to congress in 2000, also told Newsday about his father's commitment to raise his family in a suburban setting following a short stint in the Army.
"My dad was the quintessential New Yorker. He had grown up in the city, did his service in the military and wanted to raise a family in the suburbs."
In addition to his congressman son, Israel is also survived by his wife Madeline, two other children Sharyn Younger and Richard Israel as well as five grandchildren.