As tensions flared and violence erupted along the Israel-Gaza border over the weekend, two prominent U.S. lawmakers, Congressman Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), found themselves in Israel for separate reasons. Both congressmen have since left the country as the conflict escalated.
Congressman Goldman’s trip to Israel was a personal one, as he had traveled with his wife and three children to attend a Bar Mitzvah celebration. Their visit took an unexpected turn as they sought refuge from the rocket attacks launched by Hamas. Goldman’s spokesperson, Simone Kanter, disclosed that the congressman and his family had taken shelter in their hotel’s interior stairwell, waiting for safety. It was only early Sunday morning that they managed to depart for New York.
Senator Cory Booker had arrived in Israel on Friday, planning to participate in a summit centered on the Abraham Accords. He was scheduled to deliver a keynote address on Tuesday. Booker’s office revealed that he, along with his accompanying staff, were in Jerusalem when Hamas initiated their attacks on Saturday. Fearing for their safety, they took shelter and later left Israel unharmed.
The Saturday morning assault by Hamas caught Israeli forces off guard, resulting in numerous casualties, injuries, and kidnappings, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence. In response to the escalating situation, both congressmen took to social media to condemn Hamas’ actions and express their unwavering support for Israel.
Congressman Goldman, in a statement on social media, called for immediate support from Congress for Israel, emphasizing the need to replenish and expand the Iron Dome defense system. He also expressed hope for bipartisan emergency legislation to assist Israel in defending itself, stating, “I hope Republicans can get their House in order so we can pass emergency legislation to assist Israel in defending herself.”
Senator Booker echoed the condemnation of Hamas’ violence and terror, which specifically targeted Israeli families, children, and civilians across the nation. Booker affirmed his solidarity with the Israeli people and the families affected by the attacks. In a heartfelt message on social media, he and his team announced their safety but also shared their profound shock, anger, and sorrow over the tragic events, stating, “My team and I are now safe, but like many, we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these sickening terrorist attacks.”
The presence of these American lawmakers in Israel during this critical time underscores the volatility of the situation in the region and the global concern for peace and stability in the Middle East.