Twenty-nine members of the U.S. Congress landed in Israel on Wednesday as part of an American Israel Education Foundation-sponsored trip.
The delegation is the first group of a total of 81 Congress members slated to visit Israel during their August recess. "Ties between the U.S. and Israel are stronger than ever before," Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., CA) told Israel Hayom.
The delegation arrived at the President's Residence to congratulate President Shimon Peres on his 88th birthday. The representatives sang their own rendition of "Happy Birthday," a version usually sung by House Speaker John Boehner in Congress. The delegation's visit was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, which regularly sponsors high-profile trips to Israel and is part of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. For some of the newer members of Congress in the group, it was their first visit to Israel.
"This is the largest delegation of its kind to come to Israel," McCarthy said. "Everyone can attest to our close relations with Israel, but this trip allows us, especially those who have never been here, to witness Israel's security problems first hand."
"We heard Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech in Congress and completely agree with his statement that Israel has no better friend than the U.S., and that the U.S. has no better friend than Israel," he added.
In addition to the Congressional delegation and other distinguished guests, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson also took part in Peres' celebration.