(JNS.org) Fifty-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives are visiting Israel during the first half of August.
The delegations are facilitated by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) and are primarily comprised of U.S. lawmakers in their first term.
AIEF—an independent nonprofit organization affiliated with the AIPAC lobby—is sponsoring the congressional visits with the goal of providing “first-hand knowledge of the U.S.-Israel relationship and critical issues facing American policymakers in the Middle East,” the group said in a statement.
The lawmakers are being briefed on issues related to strategic threats in the region and how recent events may influence the future of the Middle East. They are meeting with Israeli and Palestinian political leaders as well as Israeli security officials, academics and media representatives.
The congressional groups are also visiting historic and strategic locations in Israel, including the Jewish state’s borders with Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are leading the groups during their time in Israel. Eighteen Democratic members of Congress met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Monday. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers Aug. 9.