Florida’s first Jewish senator since Civil War dies at 90
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Florida’s first Jewish senator since Civil War dies at 90

A member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Stone was an adviser on the 1978 Camp David Accords

Former Florida Senator Richard Stone holds up lists of the names of Latin American officials during his nomination hearing to become Ambassador at Large for Central America before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 20, 1983 on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Ira Schwarz)
Former Florida Senator Richard Stone holds up lists of the names of Latin American officials during his nomination hearing to become Ambassador at Large for Central America before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 20, 1983 on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Ira Schwarz)

Richard Stone, Florida’s first Jewish senator since the Civil War and an adviser on the Camp David Peace Accords, has died.

Stone died on Sunday at the age of 90, his son-in-law Joel Poznansky told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email.

He was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Miami Beach. He graduated from Harvard College and Columbia Law School and worked as a lawyer in Florida prior to entering local politics there.

In 1975, he became the state’s first Jewish senator since the Civil War. David Levy Yulee, who was born Jewish but later converted to Christianity, served as a senator for the state in 1855-1861.

A Democrat and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Stone led efforts to secure aid for Israel and was an adviser on the 1978 Camp David Accords which set the stage for the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. As a senator, he traveled to Israel where he met with political leaders including Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stands with some members of the U.S. Senate, Monday, March 5, 1979 during their meeting at Blair House. From left are: Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y.; Jacob Javits, R-N.Y.; Richard Stone, D-Fla.; Abraham Ribicoff, D-Conn.; and Henry Jackson, D-Wash. (AP Photo)

After losing his reelection bid in 1980, he served as ambassador-at-large for Central America under president Ronald Reagan and as ambassador to Denmark under president George H.W. Bush. In the latter role, he honored members of the Danish resistance to the Nazis during World War II.

He served on Reagan’s transition team in 1980 and later worked as a lawyer.

In his 1974 bid for Senate, Stone’s Republican opponent, Jack Eckerd, tried attacking him by highlighting his Jewish identity. Eckerd ran ads prior to and on Election Day itself noting that he was a Protestant and Stone a Jew. Eckerd later apologized for highlighting Stone’s religion.

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