On flocked to services in large numbers. (The night of assassination, nightclub owner Jack Ruby attended a memorial service for the president at Temple Shearith Israel in Dallas. , he would shoot and kill the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fueling a half-century of conspiracy theories. A key piece of evidence was a film of the motorcade as Kennedy was shot; it was made by a Jewish Kennedy supporter from Dallas named Abraham Zapruder.), a , synagogues opened for the national day of mourning — and Jews
Kennedy was the first non-Protestant, and Irish Catholic to boot, to be elected president. Stories imagining the once unimaginableproliferated in the Jewish press after he secured the nomination: Could a Jew one day be elected president? More Cabinet-level Jews worked for Kennedy than any predecessor.
Kennedy overrode Eisenhower-era State Department policies and increased arms sales to Israel. Kennedy unabashedly dove into pro-Israel politicking: He was supposed to be the guest of honor at the annual dinner of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, which took place on pardoned Herman Greenspun, the Las Vegas Sun publisher who had been convicted in 1950 on charges related to gun running to the nascent Zionist state. after his death. In 1961, Kennedy
The one phenomenon Kennedy feared above all was the proliferation of nuclear weapons on his watch. He demanded an accounting of the purpose of the nuclear reactor Israel was building near Dimona. At a 1961 meeting in New York with Ben-Gurion, the prime minister noticeably mumbled a lot and used terms like "for the time being" in promising that the reactor would not produce weapons-grade fissile material.
Kennedy wanted Americans to inspect the plant; Israel kept dodging the requests. In May 1963, Kennedy threatened to isolate Israel unless it let in the inspectors. Neither he nor Johnson ever made good on the threat, and today, Israel's nuclear capabilities are its worst-kept secret.