The formation of the State of Israel is "the greatest political achievement of the 20th century," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters at the Knesset on Wednesday.
Pelosi said the United States is proud to have Israel as an ally and will continue supporting its security and stability, amid the threat from Iran.
“We are together in the fight against terror posed by Iran and its nuclear development,” Pelosi said. “It’s a threat to the world. Israel’s proximity to Iran is a concern to all of us and the responsibility of all of us.”
Pelosi is heading a delegation of congressional representatives. She said the delegation is united in the support of two states for two peoples, and would continue to work for that goal. She said relations between the Knesset and Congress were critical.
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, who greeted Pelosi, said Israel is grateful for her uncompromising struggle for its security. He thanked her in particular for passing funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
“For many years, you have defended our right to protect our citizens, and you have stood by us even in the most difficult of times, as we saw just recently during the last operation in Gaza,” he said. “The passage of the law to fund the replenishment of the Iron Dome system will forever be associated with you, and always as one of the greatest displays of support by the American people and by the United States House of Representatives for the State of Israel. The State of Israel could not have asked for a better friend.”
At an official welcome ceremony for the speaker and her husband, Paul Pelosi, in the Knesset plaza, Levy and the speaker laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial for fallen IDF soldiers, located near the entrance to the parliament.
Pelosi’s delegation includes Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; House Ethics Committee Chair Ted Deutch; Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Barbara Lee; Bill Keating, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; House Armed Services Committee member Ro Khanna; and House Foreign Affairs Committee member Andy Kim.
Sixty first-graders from Sderot and the Gaza periphery greeted Pelosi in the Knesset plenum with US and Israeli flags to thank her for obtaining funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system that has saved their lives.
Members of Knesset gave Pelosi a standing ovation and saluted her in the visitor’s gallery. On her way out, she waved to the children and thanked them.
Pelosi and the delegation then met with President Isaac Herzog over lunch at his residence. The president invited to the lunch Ofra Fuchs, the widow of the late Israeli poet Ehud Manor, whose words Speaker Pelosi quoted in her speech on the floor of the Congress after the Capitol Hill incident of 2021. Herzog recalled telling her about the poem.
"Following the very painful event on January 6, 2021, at Capitol Hill, Speaker Pelosi made a historic speech and she opened her remarks, which were very short but extremely strong, with a quote from the famous Israeli poet Ehud Manor: ‘I can’t keep silent in light of how my country has changed her face,’" Herzog said. "I think this is a privilege, and a tribute to the beautiful power of words and poetry.”