Seven members of Congress and 13 American Jewish leaders traveled to Israel and the West Bank on J Street’s eighth and largest congressional mission last week, led by the J Street Education Fund (JSEF).
Representatives Ami Bera (CA-7), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Dwight Evans (PA-2), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) joined the J Street delegation.
During their time in the region, J Street’s eighth Congressional delegation engaged with a diverse array of Israeli and Palestinian voices. Members of Congress sat down with leading Israeli, Palestinian and American political leaders and government officials.
Throughout their visit to Israel and the Palestinian territory, participants explored the complex and nuanced realities of the region. Their extensive travels included trips to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Tel Aviv. They discussed the ongoing crisis in Gaza during visits to Israeli towns on its border. They met with key players from across the political spectrum, including Israeli settlers, Palestinian business leaders, social activists and security experts.
The delegation also had the opportunity to visit the planned-Palestinian city of Rawabi, to explore historical sites in Jerusalem’s Old City and to tour Yad Vashem and lay a wreath there in remembrance of the Holocaust’s victims.
“With the US poised to continue playing an active role in pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace, it was essential that lawmakers see firsthand what is happening on the ground,” said J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami. “As shifting regional dynamics open up new possibilities for peace and cooperation, this trip provided a critical opportunity for members of Congress to reflect on their role in helping to bring us closer to a two-state solution.”
In all, 37 members of Congress have visited the Middle East with JSEF since the group’s first delegation in 2009.
See more pictures from J Street's largest-ever congressional mission to Israel and the West Bank.