President Rivlin welcomes visiting US Congressman Robert Goodlatte..
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
US Rep. Robert Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who arrived in Israel from Jordan on Wednesday night at the head of a bipartisan congressional delegation, assured President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday of America’s abiding interest in good relations with Israel.
In welcoming the delegation, Rivlin said that its members had come to Israel during a special time. Elections are not held in Israel every year, he quipped, “but every two years.”
Alluding to the intensification of terrorist activities in the region and around the world, Rivlin said that Israel and the US are together facing the problems deriving from Hamas and Hezbollah, and quoted the US ambassador in Lebanon who had stated that Hezbollah is now part of the Iranian army. Rivlin underscored that there should also be general concern about what is happening on the Syrian border.
The delegation, which will remain in Israel till Saturday night, is particularly interested in Israeli technology and has arranged to visit several companies.
Goodlatte (R-Virginia) explained that this interest is fueled by the fact that Israel has the third largest number of companies listed on NASDAQ.
Goodlatte said that the delegation is also interested in security issues and in Israel’s economic future.
In the context of security, he said that the delegation had held good discussions in Jordan which would be of interest to Israel.
The delegation is aware that it came to Israel at a time that is politically tense and interesting, he said, and for its members the situation is particularly interesting because the system in Israel is so different from that of the United States. The delegation is also interested in Rivlin’s role as president, once the election results are made public.
Under Israeli law, the president meets with representatives of all the parties that have won Knesset mandates, hears their recommendations as to the person each thinks is best suited to form a government, and then tasks a member of Knesset with that challenge. The person chosen is not necessarily the leader of the party that received the most votes, nor does the person have to be the leader of any party, so long as he or she is a member of Knesset.