WASHINGTON D.C. – House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) today met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to discuss U.S.-Israel relations. After their meeting this morning they made the following remarks:
Cantor Opening Statement:
“We’re here today listening to the Mayor’s vision for a Jerusalem that enjoys bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, a Jerusalem that not only will serve as the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, but a city in which people of all religions can live, enjoy, and practice their faith.
“We have talked today about some of the land use complications in that city and as we operate in the larger context of what’s going on with the U.S-Israel relationship, it’s very important that we continue to build bipartisan support for a united Jerusalem, that we continue to focus on the bonds that this country has with Israel, and to make sure that we emphasize the continued threat that Israel faces as our ally and the fact that Israel’s security is synonymous with our own.”
Roskam Opening Statement:
“Israel does enjoy bipartisan support, particularly here on Capitol Hill. My sense is that the Mayor’s presence today in briefing members of the House Republican Israel Caucus is an opportunity to equip them with the details of some of the municipal drama that has been happening in Israel.
“I took my family over in November of 2006 and one of the things that my kids picked up on was the religious freedom that was on display in Israel – a real opportunity for people of many of the world’s faiths that hold Jerusalem in a very high view and to be able to worship freely there. That’s the history, that’s the heritage, and that’s the way the Israelis have governed Jerusalem since it was united in 1967.
“I appreciate hearing from the Mayor and hearing his plans as somebody who is trying to run a large municipality in the midst of a great deal of turmoil and conflict. As so often times happens, when you begin to hear the facts a lot of the drama recedes.”