Close to a dozen members of both houses of Congress were in Israel this week. Among the delegations were a Senate team including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Sen. Chick Hagel (R-Neb.); a Florida team including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-Fla.) and Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), who joined for a time a trade delegation led by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R.); Sen. Joe Liberman (I-Conn.), traveling on his own; a four-person delegation led by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Democracy Assistance Commission, which advocates for assistance to democratic governments; and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) on a two-week tour of Europe and the Middle East focusing on Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe issues and culminating in the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism next week in Romania. Hastings, a past president of the OSCE parliamentary assembly and a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, also met with top Israeli intelligence officials. Many of the trips, taking place during the week-long Memorial Day break, were not publicized in advance because members continued on to Iraq. Such trips are kept quiet until after the fact because of security considerations.
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