Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, spoke at the Knesset on Monday.
He began by noting that the relationship between the US and Israel is "more important than ever," and that the two countries must work together against threats like Iran and ISIS.
This is Ryan's (R-WI) first trip abroad since being elected speaker last October. "I wanted to come to Israel first to emphasize how important the US’ commitment to Israel and strong friendship with Israel is to us," he explained.
On his website, Ryan also wrote: "I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face."
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) thanked Ryan for the visit and said that Israel knows that the US is a true friend. "In our neighborhood, true friendship is not just important, but it must be said that the US commitment to stand with Israel on sensitive issues, facing threats of terror, ISIS and Iran, guarantees Israel’s existence," Edelstein added.
Ryan and his entourage landed in Israel on Sunday. The delegation includes Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX), House Armed Services Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Greg Meeks (D-NY) and more.
While in Israel, the legislators are meeting with a number of senior officials in order to look into the relationship between the two countries and general security issues facing the region and the world.
Though the House of Representatives is often considered the junior of the two chambers of Congress, the Speaker of the House is the second person in line for presidential succession. Should both the President and Vice President be unable to fulfill their duties, the Speaker would serve as the new Chief Executive.
This has occurred in the past. When Vice president Spiro Agnew resigned, House Speaker Gerald Ford stepped into his role. Less than a year later President Richard Nixon also quit, leaving Ford to be the new President.