(December 16, 2018 / JNS) A bipartisan delegation of incoming members of Congress returned to the United States on Friday following a five-day visit to Israel.
Reps.-elect Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), David Trone (D-Md.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Susie Lee (D-Nev.), participated on a trip organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s American Israel Education Fund to learn about the U.S.-Israel relationship.
The incoming congressional members met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Saeb Erekat, the lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority.
— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) December 14, 2018
Additionally, the delegation got a helicopter tour of the Gaza Strip, and Judea and Samaria, where they saw terror tunnels dug by Hamas.
We were invited to survey the Israeli border areas including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Then they took us to a military base to inspect the terror tunnels. Our return trip took us over Jerusalem, where we saw the security wall between the West Bank and Israel. #VA05 pic.twitter.com/DkZaOXejWr
— Denver Riggleman (@Denver4VA) December 12, 2018
Moreover, the group visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum.
I’ve had many moving experiences during our bipartisan trip to Israel. One of these was at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, where our congressional delegation laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Remembrance. pic.twitter.com/XZdYIpIaBD
— David Trone (@davidjtrone) December 11, 2018
For Riggleman, who won against anti-Israel Democrat Leslie Cockburn in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District last month, this visit to the Jewish state was not his first.
“I was in Israel during the bus bombings in 1996. I was Air Force enlisted, at the age of 26,” he told JNS last month. “When I saw the strength of the Jewish people there, when I saw what they were going through, it gave me a new appreciation for some of the challenges in that area.”
Luria, who defeated Republican Scott Taylor last month, told The Washington Post that it was her first time in Israel, and that she was moved by how U.S. support enables Israelis “to live in their communities in normal, secure lives without the fear of mortars and rockets falling on their roofs repeatedly when those types of activities do break out.”