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BY: Brent Scher
A bipartisan group of incoming members of Congress were given a security briefing by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to the Jewish state. Republican congressman-elect Denver Riggleman, an Air Force veteran, says the visit served as "Israeli history basic training."
Riggleman - Republican - Activist - Virginia - District
Riggleman, a Republican who ran against a vocal anti-Israel activist in Virginia's fifth district, says there's been a good balance to the information presented to the group thus far on the trip, which is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-affiliated nonprofit group.
In addition to their briefing on security from Netanyahu, they met with Tzipi Livni, a prominent politician who leads the opposition party in the Knesset. The group also traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official.
Way - Riggleman - Phone - Call - Tel
"They are directing us to learn in a nonjudgmental way," Riggleman said during a phone call from Tel Aviv. "It's been fantastic to hear from people who will forget more about Israel in a day than most Americans will know in a lifetime."
Riggleman, a military veteran who visited Israel once before during an Air Force operation, says all the meetings have been for educational purposes only and declined to quote any of the briefings. He said the meetings have all centered on the peace negotiations and all possible outcomes.
Group - Lesson - Challenge - Israel - Safe
The group is also getting an on-the-ground lesson on the challenge of keeping Israel safe, going inside tunnels built by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. It is also being shown the difficulty of defending the northern border, where three tunnels built by terrorist group Hezbollah have been discovered in recent days.
Riggleman says he's been struck by the operational challenges Israel faces from nearby foes, even as it deals with threats to its existence from...
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