JERUSALEM (JTA) — House Speaker Paul Ryan led a bipartisan delegation of U.S. congressmen who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
“The delegation expressed strong support for Israel,” said a short statement issued Monday by the Prime Minister’s Office following the meeting.
Israel is the first foreign country that Ryan, R-Wis., has visited since becoming speaker of the House of Representatives in October.
The delegation arrived in Israel on Sunday and is scheduled to meet with senior Israeli government officials “to discuss the important relationship between our two countries as well as security issues affecting the region and the world,” according to a statement from Ryan’s office.
Upon arriving in Israel, Ryan said in a statement: “I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face.”
The congressional delegation led by Ryan includes the chairman of two House committees: Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, House Armed Services, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
As he arrived in Israel, Ryan tweeted: “At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between America & #Israel.”
He also tweeted: “As long as I am speaker, I will not allow any legislation that divides #Israel & America to come to the House floor.”
Earlier Monday, Ryan met at the Knesset with his counterpart, Yuli Edelstein, where he reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel and said Congress would hit back against any boycott efforts against Israel. He also called for Israel and the United States to renew the 10-year bilateral security agreement.