Cory Booker, close to N.J. and national Jewish communities, wins Senate seat

Cory Booker, the Newark mayor who headed two Jewish student societies while in university, was elected to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.

Booker, a Democrat, coasted to a win in a special election Wednesday to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg, defeating Republican Steve Lonegan with 55 percent to 44 percent of the vote, according to unofficial counts.

Booker, who becomes the only African-America senator, retains strong ties with the New Jersey and national Jewish communities, and also is close to pro-Israel groups.

He is not Jewish, but immersed himself in Jewish learning in his university days, heading Jewish student societies at Oxford and Yale universities.

Booker will serve out the term of his fellow Democrat Lautenberg, who died in June, through 2014. Booker has indicated he will run for a full term next year.

Related: The real Cory Booker

N.J. firm wins original rights to drill in Golan Heights

A New Jersey-based company was awarded the first license to drill for oil in the Golan Heights.

Genie Energy of Newark was given permission recently to search for petroleum in the territory, Reuters reported Feb. 21, citing industry sources.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and officially annexed it in 1981 in a move condemned by the United Nations. The territory’s status was a major topic of negotiation in several rounds of peace talks with Damascus.

One Genie division is involved in developing oil shale fields in Colorado and the Shfela region in central Israel.