Senator Rubio Completes Middle-Eastern Trip with Stop in Israel

Lee Herald Favicon 16During an official visit to the embattled Middle east, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, investigated United States programs in the region.

Rubio initially met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri to discuss the ongoing violence and issues surrounding terrorist activity.

“I stressed to our Lebanese partners the importance of cracking down on the terrorist group Hezbollah. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and I were sponsors of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2015. This law blocks the terrorist organization’s financing and limits its access to logistical support. Prime Minister Al-Hariri and I discussed ways to address Hezbollah’s threat to regional stability, and the necessity of helping to build the capability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to confront terrorist threats.”

Following his Lebanon visit, Rubio arrived in the Kingdom of Jordan. The senator issued the following statement:

“It was an honor to return to the Kingdom of Jordan this weekend for my second official visit as senator. Jordan is one of our closest allies in the region, and we cooperate with them militarily in combating ISIS as well as dealing with the refugee crisis stemming from Syria’s civil war. Today, Jordan hosts the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world, and our support to them helps make this humanitarian response possible.

Last year, I introduced the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation‎ Act, which became law and provides support to Jordan in responding to the refugee crisis, combating ISIS and other terrorist groups, and helping mitigate the many challenges that exist along its borders with Syria and Iraq. As part of my visit to oversee U.S. programs in Jordan, I assessed the impact this law is having and what more can be done by the U.S. government to advance our interests in the region.

Jordan’s strategic partnership with Israel is a key part of promoting greater stability in the region, and I appreciate their ongoing commitment to that relationship. I am also hopeful that our Jordanian allies will continue their path to reform and allow all Jordanians a greater voice in shaping their country’s future.”

On Sunday, the trip was concluded with a stop in Israel. Rubio remarked about Israel’s abundance of tolerance and freedom and complimented the nation calling it “an oasis of democracy.”

“This was my second visit to Israel as a senator and my third overall, and it was an honor to return with three other Senate colleagues,” Senator Rubio stated.  “From the moment one sets foot in Israel, the evidence of freedom, progress and tolerance are evident everywhere, as Israel continues to be an oasis of democracy and free enterprise in a tumultuous region plagued with difficult security, foreign policy and economic challenges.

Upon arrival, I visited the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, where I look forward to soon seeing David Friedman confirmed by the Senate and working hard to restore the U.S.-Israel relationship. Later, we visited the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, where I was briefed by U.S. Consul General Donald Blome.‎ In both venues, we met with American foreign service personnel to discuss the state of U.S. international programs operating in Israel and throughout the region, the military and intelligence cooperation between our two nations, our robust economic ties, and the ongoing threats our ally faces from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other hostile actors in the region.

Israel remains a shining example of what free people can accomplish anywhere in the world, and the impact that unwavering American support and smartly targeted U.S. international assistance can have in advancing our interests and values abroad. As a senator,‎ further strengthening the unique relationship between the U.S. and Israel remains one of my highest priorities.

As a Christian, visiting the Holy Land where Christianity began is an awe-inspiring experience. It is also a reminder of Israel’s embrace of religious freedom while remaining steadfast to its founders’ promise to forever be a Jewish state. I prayed for our two nations, for Israel’s future, for our alliance, and for people everywhere to be able to live in peace and free from threats like those we continue to see abroad from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, and at home against Jewish Community Centers in the U.S.

May God bless Israel, may God bless the United States of America, and may God always watch over our close alliance.”

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Photo courtesy of Marco Rubio

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