JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a delegation of visiting Republican Congress members that Israel “can and will do all that is necessary to defend itself” in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.
“Along with Israelis on all sides of the political spectrum, I am deeply concerned about the recent nuclear deal signed with Iran,” Rivlin told the group at a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. “We stand together in a partnership, established on the strong foundations of common values, and a shared vision, deeply rooted in democracy, the values of liberalism, and human rights for each and every citizen.”
The delegation, which is being led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House majority leader, is from the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Rivlin called Israel’s allies, including the United States, “a strategic cornerstone for us.” He added: “The U.S.-Israel relationship has known ups and downs. We must not be alarmed by disagreements when they arise. Whatever Congress decides, it will be your decision as representatives of the American people. We, as your allies and partners, must make sure that whatever the result of this vote, our strategic alliance stands and grows even stronger.”
Later on Tuesday, another congressional delegation visited the Temple Mount and was harassed by a group of Muslim men. The tour of the site holy to both Jews and Muslims was interrupted first by worshippers who yelled at the lawmakers, making them unable to hear their guide, and then by guards from the Muslim Waqf, the religious administrators of the site, The Jerusalem Post reported. There was no physical contact.
During its visit, the group also toured Israel’s southern border with Egypt, the Golan Heights near the border with Syria and West Bank settlements.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., led the tour, which was organized by the Israel Allies Foundation. The foundation works with Congress and parliaments around the world to mobilize political support for Israel.