Photo Credit: Knesset Press Office
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana greets US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the airport on April 30, 2023.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) went straight to the Western Wall on Sunday after he landed at Ben-Gurion Airport.

McCarthy came to Israel in response to an invitation from Knesset Speaker MK Amir Ohana (Likud), who also invited his counterpart to address the Knesset.


McCarthy is heading a bipartisan delegation of 20 additional Members of Congress. This marks his first international visit since entering office; he is also the second House Speaker to address the Israeli Knesset in 25 years. The first to do so was then-US Representative Newt Gingrich, who addressed Israel’s parliament in 1998.

One of McCarthy’s first acts upon reaching Israel was to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he joined hundreds of thousands before him in placing a personal note in the Wall in which he said he looked forward to Israel’s next 75 years.

The bipartisan group of 20 Congress members who traveled with McCarthy also joined Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch in prayer at the Wall.

In the message he wrote in the visitor book at the holy site, the House Speaker wrote, “Israel you are a blessed nation. Our shared values unite a bond that will never break.”

“I highly appreciate the fact that you are leading this important bipartisan delegation and look forward to strengthening the relations between our two Houses,” Ohana said in greeting his American counterpart. “We’re going to do great things together,” he added.

Last week, Ohana said in a statement that McCarthy’s visit is a sign of the “strong and unbreakable bond between Israel and its closest ally, the United States of America.”​

“On behalf of our entire delegation, it is an honor to join you in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s independence and to reaffirm the special bond between our nations,” McCarthy said in response, noting that he has visited Israel more times than any other country. Sunday, however, was his first time visiting the Jewish State as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“The next 75 years of our important partnership promise to be even stronger than the first 75,” he added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.