Congress has a new hot spot this summer - Israel.Over the three-week recess, 81 members — 55 Republicans and 26 Democrats — will take a trip to the Jewish state, the Jerusalem Post reported Monday. That breaks down to about 20 percent of the House who will spend a week of their August break in Israel.The first group of visitors, made up of the 26 Democrats and headed by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), is set to arrive Monday. Two Republican delegations will follow, with one of the groups being led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).There are 47 freshmen members scheduled to take the week-long trips, the Jerusalem Post said, and for many it will be their first time in Israel.
The American Israel Education Foundation, a charity group connected with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is sponsoring the visits. The organization brings delegations from Congress to Israel on similar trips every other August.The representatives, who will travel to Israel and the West Bank, are scheduled to meet with both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on the West Bank.Among those arriving in Monday’s Democratic delegation are Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (Ill.), Betty Sutton (Ohio) and Mark Critz (Pa.), the Post reports.In a statement, Hoyer said he is “pleased members of Congress have this opportunity to study American interests in the Middle East and gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.”