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Obama leaves for Israel with Engel, Wasserman Schultz

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama left for Israel, accompanied by two top Jewish Democrats in Congress.

Air Force One lifted off  from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland about 8:15 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday and is due to land in Israel on Wednesday morning.

Accompanying Obama are two top Jewish Democrats: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

"Israel is one of our closest allies in the world and President Obama’s visit is a powerful reminder of the unbreakable bonds between our two nations,” Engel said in a statement.

Obama will meet with Israel’s leaders and address Israeli university students. He will also lay wreaths on the tombs of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister slain in 1995 by a Jewish extremist.

Obama also will tour the Palestinian areas and Jordan.

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