A bipartisan group of five United States congressmen spent the last week touring Israel, despite the daily terrorist attacks and deteriorating security situation.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal D-CA, Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH, Rep. Scott Garrett R-NJ, Rep. Raoul Labrador R-ID and Rep. Mark Meadows R-NC traveled across the country to learn the facts behind the headlines and pledge their support to the Jewish state in these challenging times.
The educational trip was sponsored by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and hosted by Yes! Israel.
Highlights of the jam-packed schedule included briefings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alom, a strategic helicopter tour with the Israeli Air Force, a visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, meetings with Israelis and Palestinians in Gush Etzion to discuss co-existence, a visit to the city of Sderot, as well as tours of ancient Shiloh and Ariel University.
The congressmen also spent time connecting with ex-pats along the way, especially at a Town Hall meeting in Jerusalem that attracted around 200 Israeli-Americans.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva during the trip, Rep. Meadows said, “We’ve seen the turmoil and terrorist activity heightened compared to what it’s been in previous months, so to be here at this particular time and witness it firsthand is obviously something that we’re going to back to the United States and make sure that the truth is told.”
That truth, according to Meadows, is “one about showing Israeli restraint but it’s also one that we can’t live in a spirit of fear, so it’s making sure that we address the problem but also knowing that as we address the problem – it’s one that’s not likely to go away soon if we don’t act with decisive decisions.”
The anti-Israel opinions are a combination of both different ideals and agendas but also misperceptions, he added.
“To see Israelis and Palestinians working together here in the industrial zone in Samaria is a huge testimony that it can be done,” said Meadows. “We were able to see Israeli hospitals on the Syrian border. They’re there not to serve Israelis. They’re there to serve others who are in harm’s way in a conflict in Syria. That shows the benevolent side of the Israeli government.”
Rep. Garrett described his trips to Israel as “eye-opening experiences” but also as heartwarming ones.
“It seems like each time I’ve come here there’s been a conflict. When people speak about ‘peaks’ in conflict, it’s just a perpetual aggression from the outside that needs to be addressed,” he said.