By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — August 10, 2017 … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today at his Jerusalem office with a delegation of US Republican Members of Congress led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with a US Democratic Congressional delegation led by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
A leading Democratic congressman told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that support in the U.S. House of Representatives for legislation strengthening Israel’s security is “overwhelmingly bipartisan.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Minority Whip, told reporters that there was no lingering bitterness among Democrats towards Israel over Netanyahu’s congressional speech against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Hoyer asserted that “all of us together support Israel,” whether or not they agreed with the speech. He explained that he objected to the nature of the invitation to Netanyahu, which was not done in a bipartisan fashion, and not Netanyahu’s decision to speak.
“I thought he spoke very well. I stood and clapped for things I supported, as others did,” Hoyer said of Netanyahu’s speech. “But the essence is not personalities. Democrats are very supportive of Israel and that is our focus and continues to be our focus.”
When asked about Democratic support for Israel, Hoyer responded that no Democrats opposed a recently passed bill that imposed new sanctions on Iran, and that “the parties are very united, and the fact is that the parties are speaking with one voice.”
While Democrats and Republicans are divided over many issues, Hoyer noted, “when you have votes regarding Israel’s well-being and safety, they are overwhelmingly bipartisan.”
Hoyer, who is leading a group of Democratic congressmen on his 15th visit to Israel, said that he and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R – Calif.), who is leading a Republican delegation, will get together to demonstrate the bipartisan nature of American support for Israel. Both delegations to Israel are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Hoyer and the Democratic group met with Netanyahu on Monday, while the Republican group is scheduled to meet the prime minister on Wednesday.
“We have made a point to make sure we have an overlapping time here in Israel together, Republicans and Democrats. Because this is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan issue,” McCarthy said.
“Some of us are Democrats and some of us are Republicans. But we’re not here as Republicans and Democrats. We’re here as Americans who support Israel’s security, its sovereignty and the safety of its people,” Hoyer said before approximately 50 members of Congress.
“We’re here because the United States and Israel are partners for peace and partners for security.”