The parade of world leaders coming to Jerusalem continues unabated, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to arrive Friday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Saturday night.
Pelosi - whose job as speaker places her "just two heartbeats away from the presidency," meaning that if both the president and vice president were to become incapacitated, she would become president - will head a congressional delegation that also includes the US's first Muslim congressman, Democrat Keith Ellison from Minnesota, and one of the more pro-Palestinian members of Congress, Democrat Nick Rahall from West Virginia.
The delegation also includes two of the most pro-Israeli voices in Congress, Tom Lantos and Henry Waxman, both Democrats from California who are Jewish. Pelosi, a Democrat from California, is also considered a strong supporter of Israel. The delegation also includes David Hobson, a Ohio Republican.
Rahall, who is of Lebanese Christian descent, came out against a bipartisan congressional resolution in July 2006 supporting Israel during the Second Lebanon War. During the war he wrote a letter to President George W. Bush calling on him to tell Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "that enough is enough. It is time for the disproportionate use of violence to end and for negotiations to begin."
Pelosi is expected to meet with Acting President Dalia Itzik, Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Merkel, meanwhile, was last here in January 2006, immediately after Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, and was the first foreign leader to meet Olmert, who at the time was acting prime minister.
She is to visit Yad Vashem Sunday, as well as meet Olmert, receive an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University and meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Germany currently holds the presidency of the EU, and her visit here is part of a tour that will take her to Jordan and Lebanon.