Pelosi leads Israel codel


Nancy Pelosi led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel to mark its 60th birthday.

Joining Pelosi (D-Calif.), the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in leading the 13-member delegation were Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the majority leader and Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Republican Conference.

The delegation left Thursday evening and is due to arrive Friday just as President Bush completes his own visit. Pelosi, second line from the White House after the vice president, traveled after Bush because of the security risks that could arise if both were in Israel at the same time.

“The creation of Israel stands out as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century and as a beacon of hope to the world,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We pay tribute to the many people, who with pioneering spirits, brave determination, and deep commitment, made the modern state of Israel a reality.”

The delegation will tour Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, as well as Hadassah Medical Center, where the members will be briefed on emergency preparedness. They will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Knesser Speaker Dalia Itzik and President Shimon Peres.

Jewish members of the delegation include Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Middle East subcommittee; Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Government Reform Committee; Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee; Jane Harman (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the intelligence subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee; and Ron Klein (D-Fla.)

The other members of the delegation are U.S. Reps. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the Rules Committee; John Larson (D-Conn.), the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus; and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who chairs the congressional Helsinki Commission, which monitors human rights overseas.

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