Eighty-one House members, one fifth of the chamber, will visit Israel during the traditional summer recess, instead of addressing festering local issues at home during the nation’s gravest economic crisis too serious to ignore.
Arriving first were 26 Democrats together, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD). Another 55 Republicans will follow in two groups, including 47 freshmen.
Heading each are House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and House Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA). Spouses are also going at an estimated cost of $8,000, including business-class flights, first-class hotels, meals, transportation, side trips, guides and incidentals.
Red carpet treatment is assured along with considerable pro-Israeli messaging, especially for new incoming freshmen. They’ll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, as well as PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Legitimate Hamas leaders are excluded.