Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extolled shared security values with the United States in a meeting with six visiting US Congress members on Tuesday, here on an AIPAC- organized tour.
“It is a great honor to meet you all, and your support is greatly appreciated in Israel,” Rivlin told the delegation, which included representatives of both US parties, in a statement released to the press. “The relations between our peoples and our governments are of the highest importance in all areas – first and foremost, in that of security,” Rivlin said.
Delegation leader Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus), responded that “The good relations between our two countries stand firm despite political disagreements, and will continue to stand as such. Israel is a thriving democracy in the Middle East and we are very pleased to be here.”
During their visit, the Congress members toured Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, where they inspected an Iron Dome battery, the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights, where they observed firsthand the defense challenges currently facing Israel, according to a statement from the President’s Office.
The other members of the delegation were Karen Bass (D-California – also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus), Alan Grayson (D-Florida), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), and Todd Young (R-Indiana).
Although Rep. Bass was among the 58 members of Congress who skipped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before U.S. Congress in March, the issue was not raised during the visit. Instead, in his meeting with the delegates, Netanyahu focused on the Iranian nuclear threat, emphasizing what he termed, in a statement released to the press, the two countries’ “common need, desire to maintain our alliance and to maintain Israel’s security.”