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Senator Begich to visit Israel for first-hand look at America’s partnership

The status of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, how American foreign aid is being used and the Iranian threat to the Middle East will be Sen. Mark Begich’s focus when he travels to Israel this week.

Begich will travel with two other senators, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Begich is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees America’s military activities around the world.

The delegation will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad, Knesset members, Israeli opposition-party leaders, business leaders from the country’s burgeoning energy sector and research institute specialists, among others. They also will pay their respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, tour Israel’s electric car development facility and see how Israel educates its children with special needs.

“As America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, I want to see first-hand the threats Israel faces from its neighbors, especially Iran,” Begich said. “The U.S. provides Israel more than $3 billion in foreign assistance annually, so it’s my responsibility as senator to ensure that assistance is well spent and serving America’s security interests in the region.”

Begich is traveling as a guest of the American Israel Education Foundation, a nonprofit that supports educational programs focused on the Middle East. No federal funds will be used for Begich’s trip.

Begich returns to Alaska on Friday, Oct. 19 and will address the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives on Saturday, Oct. 20.

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