House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced he will address Israel’s Knesset later this month to mark the 75th anniversary of the Jewish state’s founding.
“The US-Israel relationship is as important as ever,” McCarthy, 58, tweeted Tuesday, “and I’m proud to accept @AmirOhana’s invitation as the 2nd Speaker of the House in history to address the Knesset.”
Ohana, the Knesset speaker and a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, first invited McCarthy to Israel after a marathon series of votes briefly delayed him from taking up the speaker’s gavel in January.
“Mr. Speaker, we are very excited to host you in your second home — the Knesset. Thank you for your longstanding support for Israel!” Ohana tweeted in response to McCarthy Tuesday.
In 1998, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) became the first US Speaker of the House to address Israel’s legislative body, but former Speakers Dennis Hastert, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner and Paul Ryan have not visited in the intervening years.
The House Republican leader will travel with a delegation of 20 GOPers and 20 Democrats to celebrate Israel declaring its independence in 1948.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is also expected to make a trip to Israel days before McCarthy.
Tensions have been high in the region, with Hamas militants and the Israeli military trading attacks in recent weeks.
The visit also comes at a sensitive time following a massive leak of highly sensitive US intelligence documents — at least one of which implicated Israel’s Mossad spy agency in encouraging protests against the Netanyahu government.
After President Biden criticized Netanyahu’s push for judicial reform in Israel, McCarthy put out a statement backing the prime minister.
“Free societies have vigorous and open debate. Israel is no exception,” he said. “I support Prime Minister Netanyahu, and America’s support for Israel’s strong, vibrant democracy is unwavering.”
Earlier this month, McCarthy greeted Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California, becoming the highest-ranking US elected official to meet her on American soil since 1979.
A multi-lingual talent head, Allen is fluent in languages such as Spanish, Russian, Italian, and many more. He has a special curiosity for the events and stories revolving in and around US and caters an uncompromising form of journalistic standard for the audiences.