On Sunday, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, will be part of a congressional delegation traveling to Israel to learn more about the U.S.-Israel relationship, security challenges surrounding peace talks, and opportunities for economic cooperation with the Israeli business community.
"The strength and importance of America's relationship to Israel is fundamental to our strategy in the Middle East," Hanabusa said, "and I believe it is incumbent on every member of Congress to take the time to gain a thorough understanding of the genuine issues and realities on the ground there. I am pleased to have this opportunity to travel with my colleagues and get a first-hand look at a region that is so central to our nation's international strategy.
"I also believe it is critical that we have a chance to put a human face on issues that we so often consider in Congress. For all the talk of strategic alliances and international relations, I am looking forward to meeting the people of Israel and learning how these discussions and interactions affect their lives, and other lives in the region. I welcome the chance to gain further insights that will help me make better, more informed decisions about the world we live in."
Several highlights of the week-long trip include:
- Meeting with the Honorable Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, and Major General (res.) Yaacov Amidror, National Security Council Director
- Meeting with the Honorable Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, and the Honorable Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
- Tour of Israel's northern and southern borders
- Visit to Kibbutz Kfar Aza on the border with the Gaza Strip, lunch with local residents
- Visit to an Iron Dome battery at the Hatzor Base, lunch with IDF soldiers
- Visit to Bethlehem
The trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF).