Who saw this coming?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stated on Sunday that the congressional delegation he is leading on a visit to Israel had to take shelter in Tel Aviv due to incoming rocket fire.
According to NBC, Schumer shared a photo on a popular social media platform, displaying him and others, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, huddled in a secure shelter.
“As Senate Majority Leader, as I mentioned, the highest-ranking Jewish leader in American history, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure the Senate provides the necessary assistance to help Israel achieve its military, intelligence, and humanitarian objectives,” Schumer expressed. “We are committed to taking action, not just making statements.”
Schumer mentioned that their delegation was hurried to a shelter in Tel Aviv during their visit because of rocket activity. He emphasized the challenges faced by Israelis and the importance of supporting Israel’s self-defense.
A spokesperson for Schumer later confirmed that a press conference was briefly postponed to allow time for air-raid sirens.
Schumer and a bipartisan group of senators, including Romney, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., arrived in Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli officials a little over a week after a recent series of events in the region.
During their visit, the senators met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv, emphasizing their bipartisan support for the State of Israel.
Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish official in U.S. history and the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate, is leading this delegation to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for Israel.
Besides Herzog, Schumer is also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, a key political figure and centrist opposition leader. These leaders formed a unity government following the recent crisis in which many lives were lost in Israel.
In New York City, Schumer outlined the goals of the trip: to convey a clear message of support for Israel, engage with Israeli leaders to address the nation’s needs, and underscore the bipartisan nature of this support.
“We’re committed to providing Israel with everything it requires, including the Iron Dome and other military and humanitarian aid. I urge all members of the American government to focus on securing the release of American hostages,” Schumer stressed.
Schumer had to cut short a congressional delegation trip to Asia earlier this month to address the Middle East crisis. During that trip, he maintained contact with Israeli officials from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
Several members of Congress were in Israel during the attack, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and they have returned safely to the U.S.
A congressional delegation visited Israel last week, including Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Donald Norcross, D-N.J. They held meetings with senior Israeli government officials during their visit.
Schumer has been in close contact with leaders at the State and Defense departments and has been working on facilitating travel arrangements for Americans wanting to leave Israel. He also reached out to American-based airlines to resume their regular flights from Israel.
Congress is awaiting a supplemental funding request from the White House, which is expected to include additional aid for Israel.
Following his meetings with Israeli leaders on Sunday, Schumer announced that he will lead a bipartisan Senate aid package for Israel upon his return to Washington.
“I’m using all my influence to ensure that the Senate provides the support necessary for Israel to achieve its military, intelligence, and humanitarian goals,” Schumer affirmed. “We are not just making promises; we are taking action.”
While in Tel Aviv today, our delegation was rushed to a shelter to wait out rockets sent by Hamas. It shows you what Israelis have to go through. We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself. pic.twitter.com/wS3kq6xFVJ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 15, 2023