Alex Padilla visiting Israel for first time as a senator
The California senator joins a parade of other lawmakers in Israel and the Middle East this week
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) is among the parade of lawmakers visiting Israel during the President’s Day recess, Padilla spokesperson Tess Whittlesey confirmed to Jewish Insider yesterday.
The visit is Padilla’s first as senator, but not his first time in Israel, according to Whittlesey. California Jewish leaders have described Padilla to JI as a close friend and ally of the Jewish community.
Padilla is traveling separately from the several other concurrent congressional visits to Israel and the Middle East. Also in the region are separate delegations led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Jim Risch (R-ID) are also in Israel this week, where they are speaking at the Tikvah Fund’s Hertog Forum. Nineteen House members are in Israel on two trips being led by J Street and the bipartisan U.S. Israel Education Association.
McConnell’s group visited the newly opened Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which the Senate minority leader called “a powerful symbol of the strength of the Abraham Accords.”
Stops on Padilla’s trip have included Yad Vashem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and an abandoned Hezbollah tunnel on the Israel-Lebanon border.
Padilla said he came away from Yad Vashem “inspired by the resilience of the Jewish people, and committed to peace, security, and prosperity in the region and world.” In a tweet about the Hezbollah tunnel, he noted, “As an Iran-backed proxy, Hezbollah is also a threat to U.S. interests and allies in the region.”
He added that “as a Catholic, few experiences are as moving” as visiting the Holy Sepulchre and attending mass there.