US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) visited the Knesset Monday, meeting with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on his first trip abroad in his new position.
“It’s not by coincidence; it was by design,” Ryan said of his choice of official visit. “We made a very strong decision. I wanted to come to Israel first as Speaker of the House, because, and I can speak her on behalf of our delegation, our alliance is so important, our friendship is so important.”
Ryan said the alliance between Israel and the US is “more important now than ever before” in light of “very difficult times, the rise of ISIS, terrorism, Syrian civil war, Iran.”
“We see you as our friends, our allies, our partners. You’re an island of freedom in a very difficult, chaotic region, and that is why our partnership is all the more important,” he added.
Ryan said it is important for Israel and the US to renew and extend its bilateral security agreement, mentioning missile defense programs like David’s Sling and the Arrow.
The Speaker of the House also said Congress would combat any boycott efforts against Israel.
“That’s something we take pride in, advancing the kind of [anti-boycott] legislation we’ve already advanced this year in the House, and we pledge to stand shoulder to shoulder with you. That’s why we’re here,” Ryan stated.
Edelstein told Ryan: “We know we have true friends in the US, in Congress and the White House.
“In our neighborhood, I think it’s not just a question of having another good friend, but also a question of Israel’s security,” the Knesset Speaker added.
Continued American aid to Israel is “the guarantor of our existence” in the region, Edelstein said.
Ryan was met at the entrance to the Knesset by an honor guard, and signed the Knesset guestbook in the Chagall Hall, as is customary, before the meeting in Edelstein’s office.
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