MEMBERS OF a US Congressional delegation meet yesterday with MKs from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, including former ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
(photo credit: RENEE SHARON)
Egypt, like Israel, opposes the Iranian nuclear deal brokered last month by the US and other leading nations, a group of US congressmen who have been touring Israel and Egypt said Monday.
US President Barack Obama said in a speech at American University in Washington last week that “every nation in the world that has commented publicly – with the exception of the Israeli government – has expressed support.”
The Congressional delegation, organized by the Israel Allies Foundation, met Monday with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and a group of MKs from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus that included former ambassador to the US Michael Oren. They are set to meet Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On their visit to Egypt, the congressmen had dinner with US Ambassador Stephen Beecroft and held confidential meetings with Egyptian officials. They also met with Pope Tawadros II of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church.
In Israel, the group led by Congressional Israel Allies Caucus chairman Trent Franks (R-Arizona), toured the southern border with Egypt, the Golan near Syria and communities in Judea and Samaria. All of the congressmen in the group oppose the Iran deal because of the dangers it poses to the US and to Israel.
“We stand with Israel against the Iranian nuclear deal because we know it represents the greatest threat to our beloved ally in this generation,” Franks said.
The Israel Allied Foundation is the only pro-Israel group that takes Congressional Members to Egypt. It does so because it wants congressmen to understand the new geopolitical shifts that are taking shape in the region, especially when it comes to opposition to the Iranian agreement.
The meeting with six MKs was the first time the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus met with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus since the Israeli caucus was relaunched last month.
The head of the caucus, MK Robert Ilatov, said he hoped the congressmen would influence their colleagues back home ahead of the key vote next month.
“There may be no more critical time to come here than today with the weight of the Iran Nuclear deal hanging in the balance,” said congressman Evan Jenkins (R-West Virginia).
“The opportunity to meet with many leaders in Israel face to face has impressed on me even more the significance of the vote I will cast in the US Congress. From my review of the specifics, I felt before I arrived that this was a bad deal. This visit has only reinforced my serious concern and objections.”
Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-Pennsylvania), who is on his first visit to Israel, said he would share with his colleagues and constituency what he learned on the trip about the need for America to stand with Israel in her defense.
Knesset Christian Allies caucus director Josh Reinstein said the congressmen were sent a clear message that there is wall-to-wall opposition in Israel to the Iran deal regardless of party or political persuasion. He warned that the deal could be the greatest existential threat the State of Israel has ever faced. “In Israel, there is no dispute between Left and Right over the Iran deal,” Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel said. “Everyone here feels very strongly that this agreement poses a grave danger to Israel, to the West and to the world at large.”