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Hoyer leads House Democrats to Israel

Delegation will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, tour US-funded defense systems on AIPAC-funded visit

Steny Hoyer (D-Md. right) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Montgomery, Ala., March 2, 2013.  (photo credit: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism/JTA)
Steny Hoyer (D-Md. right) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Montgomery, Ala., March 2, 2013. (photo credit: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism/JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-ranked Democrat in the US House of Representatives, is leading fellow Democrats on a tour of Israel funded by AIPAC’s educational affiliate.

Two freshmen, Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY.) announced they were joining this week’s tour, which will include meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as well as tours of US-funded defense systems, including the short range Iron Dome anti-missile program.

Such tours, funded by the American Israel Education Foundation, the educational affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, routinely take place during the August recess every off-election year, and Hoyer, the minority whip, has led a number of them. They are designed to introduce freshmen to Israel-related issues.

An AIPAC official confirmed that 37 Democrats will be going, although not all of them are freshmen.

The Democratic tour, which lasts about a week, usually is followed up by a similar tour for Republican freshmen, led in recent years by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader and the highest ranked Jewish member of Congress.

Frankel’s release said such a GOP tour was in the works; a JTA question to Cantor’s office, posed over the weekend, was pending.

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