Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his delegation were compelled to seek refuge in a bomb shelter while on a diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv.
The group was forced to take this drastic measure due to the onslaught of rockets fired by Hamas. This incident underscores the volatile situation in the region and the constant threat faced by Israel.
Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, was accompanied by a bipartisan group of senators. The delegation included Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, GOP Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Democratic Senators Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Mark Kelly of Arizona.
Their visit to Tel Aviv was aimed at demonstrating support for Israel ahead of Joe Biden’s anticipated request for Congress to approve supplemental wartime funding for Israel and Ukraine.
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
The delegation had an audience with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv before they were hurriedly escorted to the shelter. They are also scheduled to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gants, a chief political rival and centrist opposition leader.
These two Israeli politicians have formed a unity wartime government in response to the brutal attacks by Hamas terrorists that claimed the lives of more than 1,300 civilians in Israel last Saturday.
This horrific attack, deemed by the US State Department as the worst assault on Jews since the Holocaust, also resulted in the tragic loss of at least 29 American lives.
The gravity of the situation is further underscored by the fact there are still 15 unaccounted-for Americans; although the precise number of American hostages held by Hamas remains uncertain.
Back home, Schumer’s Brooklyn residence was the site of a protest calling for a ceasefire. Demonstrators advocating for Palestine were arrested outside his home. Despite these domestic pressures, Schumer remains steadfast in his commitment to Israel.
Interesting that protesters (mostly peaceful of course) were arrested outside Shumer's home but protesters in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices went unmolested.https://t.co/I3BZl68AHO
— Aufee The Banned (@Aufee111) October 15, 2023
During a press conference in New York City, Schumer outlined the threefold purpose of their Middle East trip: to demonstrate to the world that the US stands with Israel, to discuss the resources and support needed by the nation with Israeli leaders, and to show that support for Israel is a bipartisan issue.
He emphasized the commitment to provide Israel with everything it needs, including the Iron Dome and other military and humanitarian needs.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured that rescuing American hostages in Gaza is the “highest priority” for the Biden administration. However, he acknowledged the complexity of the rescue mission, given the uncertainty about the hostages’ whereabouts.