United States Capitol building in Washington, DC..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) headed to the US Sunday to meet with American officials.
The purpose of the five-day trip to Washington, Elkin said, is “to renew a strategic dialogue and deepen the connection between the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and relevant committees in Congress.”
Elkin explained that relations between the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the US Congress weakened after now-Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz’s two terms as co-chairman of the Joint Security Committee Between the Knesset and Congress, which he led alongside then-senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).
The Likud MK’s visit will be partially dedicated to trying to reinstate the joint committee.
“Returning those relations to their previous zenith is of utmost importance at a time when we are discussing matters that are crucial to Israel’s security, like the Iranian nuclear threat, the Islamic State, and the situation in Russia,” Elkin’s spokeswoman stated.
In addition to those issues, the sensitive committee’s chairman plans to discuss Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and other issues of immediate concern to Israel with American politicians and State Department officials.
Elkin plans to meet with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and ranking Republican in the committee Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) and ranking Democrat in the committee Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York).
The Likud MK will also meet with leadership of the House and Senate committees on Intelligence – Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) – and the committees on the Armed Forces – Sens. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Rep. Howard McKeon (R-California) and Adam Smitch (D-Washington).
Elkin also plans to meet with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.