John Delaney, candidate for Congress in Maryland's Sixth District, is scheduled to visit key sites in Israel next week, including the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, along with the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. While in Israel, Delaney will meet with Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, business leaders, and scholars.
"After speaking with community leaders, faith leaders, and voters, across the District during my campaign, I came to understand that visiting Israel was necessary to obtain a full and proper perspective on our relationship with our strongest ally in the Middle East. I felt that it was vital to gain a first-hand understanding of the issues," said Delaney. "Israel is a force for greater democracy and stability in the Middle East, and we must support its right to exist in peace and security. In light of the political unrest in Syria and the changing landscape of the Middle East, promoting strong democratic values in the region is critically important. As a member of Congress, I will work to ensure that the US-Israel partnership remains strong" said Delaney.
"Israel is not just another foreign policy issue; it is a huge part of the daily spiritual lives of millions of Americans and there is an intense mutual bond between the two nations. With regional stability faltering and threats to Israel increasing, John Delaney's visit to Israel couldn't come at a better time," said Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, founder of the B'nai Tzedek Congregation in Potomac. "By seeing the situation on the ground in person and hearing from top Israeli officials, John will be able to augment his strong understanding of the challenges facing Israel and will be well-prepared to serve America's foreign policy interests in Congress."
Highlights of Delaney's itinerary in Israel:
* Guided visit through the Old City of Jerusalem
* The Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and mass at Notre Dame in Jerusalem.
* Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
* A briefing on US-Israeli relations and Israeli security concerns Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister and member of the Knesset
* Meeting with Jonathan Medved on Israeli economy and business sector
* Briefings on Israeli culture and society from professors at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew Union College
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, the community and public affairs arm of the regional Jewish community, helped to organize the trip to Israel -- an opportunity JCRC has made available to both John Delaney and the Republican nominee for the District 6 Congressional seat. In Israel Delaney will be joined by JCRC lay and professional leaders, including: Ron Halber, Executive Director JCRC; Michael Friedman, PhD, Research Assistant Professor Physical Cultural Studies Program, Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland School of Public Health College Park, Vice President, JCRC; Hilary Smith Kapner, business executive, philanthropist, and local pro-Israel activist and Jewish community leader.
In recent years, Delaney has also visited Jordan and Turkey. April and John Delaney are members of the National Advisory Council of Bridges of Understanding, a not for profit devoted to supporting projects and efforts that build trust between the Middle East and the United States. The Advisory Board of Bridges of Understanding includes Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and General Colin Powell.
Delaney's policy paper on US-Israel relations, released during the primary, can be found on Delaney2012.com.