US House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, DC (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dozens of US Democratic Lawmakers Visiting Israel

US House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was slated to arrive in Israel on Monday at the head of a delegation of 41 other Democratic lawmakers. The trip – meant primarily to introduce freshman legislators to the Jewish state – is organized by a charity affiliated with the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group. “I am pleased to join so many House Democrats in traveling to Israel to reaffirm our support for a critical US ally and to continue learning about the opportunities and the challenges facing Israel and the Middle East,” Hoyer said in a statement prior to his departure. According to Hoyer, the lawmakers will meet in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as Benny Gantz – head of the centrist Blue and White list, which garnered the same amount of seats as the ruling Likud party in April’s elections – in addition to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The visit comes amid a seemingly growing division within the Democratic Party on how to chart the future course of US-Israel ties, with leftist congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), in particular, leading the charge to downgrade the bilateral relationship. A Republican delegation of similar size, headed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Friday.

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