The top Republican on the US House of Representatives' foreign affairs committee said Thursday she will visit Israel next week in a show of support for the US ally against "violent extremists."
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida will meet with top Israeli government officials including President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, her office said in a statement.
"The United States and Israel must continue to work together to forge even closer ties as we face the mutual threats posed by violent extremists and the regimes which support them," she said in the statement, which listed no meetings with any Palestinian officials.
Ros-Lehtinen will visit the Western Wall and visit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of rocket fire from Palestinian Islamist fighters in nearby Gaza.
"Sderot reminds us that the threat posed by violent Islamists and their state sponsors is all too real, and that we must defend freedom against those who would destroy it," Ros-Lehtinen said.
Upon returning to Jerusalem, the lawmaker was to meet with survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Israel, according to the statement.
And she was also to meet with a legal adviser to the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, whose stated mission is to pursue what it calls "the perpetrators and financial supporters of Islamic terror" through the courts.
Ros-Lehtinen was also to attend a special showing of the film "The Third Jihad," which has drawn angry criticisms from US Muslim groups, and attend a presentation "illustrating violent anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian media."
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