Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan in Jerusalem today. Speaker Ryan led a bipartisan delegation of U.S. congressmen in a visit to demonstrate America’s strong support of Israel.
“The delegation expressed strong support for Israel,” said a short statement issued Monday by the Prime Minister’s Office following the meeting.
This is Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) first visit to Israel since becoming the speaker of the House of Representatives last October.
The delegation arrived in Israel on Sunday and is scheduled to meet with senior Israeli government officials “to discuss the important relationship between our two countries as well as security issues affecting the region and the world,” according to a statement from Ryan’s office.
Upon arriving in Israel, Ryan said in a statement: “I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face.”
The U.S congressional delegation includes the chairman of two House committees: Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, House Armed Services, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
As he arrived in Israel, Ryan tweeted: “At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between America & #Israel.”
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 3, 2016
Prime Minister Netanyahu Tweeted: Today I hosted a bipartisan congressional delegation led by @SpeakerRyan. They expressed strong support for Israel.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 4, 2016
Ryan also visited the Knesset as a guest of Speaker Edelstein. ”I wanted to come to Israel first in order to emphasize just how committed the United States is to Israel and how important is our strong friendship,” Ryan told reporters. “Especially against the shared security threats of ISIS and Iran, this friendship is even more important than in the past. I and my fellow members of Congress are working and fighting against every appearance of BDS or any boycott on Israel. We will work shoulder to shoulder with you against all threats. This is the reason I am here, and this is the point I want to emphasize.”
In an interview with Times of Israel, the speaker said, “I would not as an Israeli be worried about the future of our relationship. I think it’s going to strengthen.”
During the interview, Ryan was asked if he would become the eventual GOP presidential nominee. Speaker Ryan replied, “I decided not to run for president,” he said. “I think you should run, if you’re going to be president. I think you should start in Iowa and run to the tape.”
This visit comes during the American presidential primary elections. Speaker Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin hold their primary election Tuesday where Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders are favored to win. The GOP candidates have all expressed their support of the State of Israel.