President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday told Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), “We see eye to eye on Iran, which continues to threaten the stability of the region and the security of us all. We view events in Syria with great concern, and appreciate your work to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Like you, we see Israeli-Palestinian affairs as a tragedy for both peoples, and hope the president’s plan encourages progress.”
Last August, however, Rep. Engel, then just the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, condemned President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, saying, “President Trump’s decision today makes much more likely a scenario we have long dreaded: an Iranian nuclear weapon.”
“Whatever the problems with the deal, we made a commitment, and now it’s the United States breaking its word. And President Trump bears sole responsibility for scrapping this deal rather than making a real effort to improve it,” Engel wrote.
Back in 2012, Congressmen Eliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler, both from New York State, were attacked by rock-throwing Arabs in front of a mosque in the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem. They were on a tour of the Mount of Olives Cemetery, along with some 40 Jewish American leaders, guided by now spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron Yishai Fleisher.
The president welcomed Chairman Engel on his current visit to Israel and stressed the importance of the Israel-US relationship: “It is truly a strategic alliance, and we appreciate your country’s unequivocal support for Israeli security. Our relations have solid foundations: shared values and a common vision bind us together.”
Representative Engel responded: “I have always been very supportive of the US-Israel relationship, and I will always continue to be. Friends will sometimes have disagreements, so will spouses and family members, but that shouldn’t doesn’t and won’t obscure the bigger picture. We are friends and allies and the values we share are more important than anything else. When we look back at what we have achieved over the last 71 years, it is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you for welcoming me. I am always glad to be in Israel and to meet friends.”