Israel’s Knesset speaker to visit US House with Gaza hostages’ families

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana was invited to the United States House of Representatives in the first week of February. He is scheduled to meet with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson. 

The Knesset Speaker has invited several former hostages and family members of hostages to his diplomatic visit. Those invited include Emily Hand, a 9-year-old girl who was released from Hamas captivity, along with her father Thomas Hand; Zvika and Efrat Mor, the parents of Eitan Mor who is still in captivity; Ali al-Ziadana, whose brothers Aisha and Bilaal were released, but his brother Yosef and his brother-in-law Hamza remain in Hamas captivity; as well as members of the Knesset from both the opposition and the coalition.

Emily Hand will not be joining the diplomatic visit, although her father will. 

Meeting with Mike Johnson 

Amir Ohana and Mike Johnson are expected to meet in Congress on Tuesday, February 6. During the diplomatic visit, Speaker Ohana is expected to hold meetings on the subject of policy with senior members of Congress and beyond, the leadership of AIPAC, Jewish organizations, and also to address matters at the conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the United Nations headquarters.

The parliamentary delegation that will travel to the Capitol will include members from both the opposition and the coalition: Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein of Likud, MK Efrat Rayten of Labor, and MK Idan Roll of Yesh Atid.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Republican congressmen Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

Mike Johnson has one of the most conservative voting history on record in the House, is a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and of Israel. 

It was further highlighted in the Knesset that the goal of the delegation is to establish parliamentary and diplomatic relations with lawmakers and policy-makers in the United States in support of the goals of the war: undermining the military and political capabilities of Hamas and the return of all the captives.

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