Israel US flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Republican presidential candidates are not the only politicians interested in coming to Israel, as New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is slated to lead a Democratic delegation to Israel next week, the first Democratic delegation since the bruising battle over the Iran deal last summer.
Gillibrand backed US President Barack Obama and voted for the deal.
One official in Jerusalem said that with elections in the US now only 11 months away, it is understandable why Democratic politicians will once again be visiting Israel. One-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives will be up for election, in addition to the president. Gillibrand’s delegation is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jerusalem is also expecting visits over the next few months from top tier Republican presidential candidates, even though front-runner Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson both canceled scheduled visits in December.
On January 15, about a week after this delegation, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is scheduled to come for a four-day visit, her first since becoming Washington’s envoy to the UN in 2013. She is scheduled to be here for four days and have a series of meetings with top officials, including Netanyahu.
Her visit here will overlap with another high-level visit, that of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is expected to make a threeday, long-delayed visit. Her visit, another sign of the strong Indian-Israel ties, will follow by just three months the first-ever visit to Israel by an Indian head of state, President Pranab Mukherjee.