Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that the congressional delegation he’s leading in a trip to Israel was rushed to a shelter in Tel Aviv amid rocket fire.
Schumer posted a photo on X of what appears to be him and several other people, including Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, sheltering in a tight bunker.
“While in Tel Aviv today, our delegation was rushed to a shelter to wait out rockets sent by Hamas,” Schumer wrote. “It shows you what Israelis have to go through.”
“We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself,” he added.
A Schumer spokesperson later said that a news conference was also delayed by a few minutes to wait out air-raid sirens.
Schumer arrived in Tel Aviv this weekend leading a bipartisan coalition of senators — including Romney, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev. — to meet with Israeli officials, just over a week after Hamas launched its deadly rampage on the country.
The senators met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv early Sunday, Herzog’s office said in a statement. It added that they had “emphasized the cross-party support for the State of Israel.”
Schumer, 72, the highest-ranking Jewish official in U.S. history and the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate, is leading the group of lawmakers “to show the United States’ unwavering support for Israel,” a spokesperson from his office said before the trip.
Before he traveled to Israel, he tweeted that he “sat down for Shabbat dinner with my family.”
As well as Herzog, Schumer is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, a chief political rival and centrist opposition leader. The two politicians have formed a unity wartime government since the attack that killed at least 1,300 people in Israel.
At a news conference Friday in New York City, Schumer said the purpose of the trip is threefold: to send a clear message that the U.S. stands with Israel, to meet with Israeli leaders and discuss the resources and support the nation’s needs and to show that support for Israel is bipartisan.
“We’re going to get Israel everything it needs — Iron Dome, all the other needs, both military and humanitarian. And we’re going to do everything we can, and I’m going to urge everyone, everyone in the American government, to bring back the hostages, particularly our American hostages,” he said.
Schumer cut short a congressional delegation he led to Asia this month to return to the U.S. to address the crisis in the Middle East. During the trip, he got in touch with Israeli officials, including Herzog, from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
Several members of Congress happened to be in Israel when the attack took place, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y. They have returned to the U.S. safely.
A congressional delegation also visited Israel last week. It included Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Donald Norcross, D-N.J. They met with senior Israeli government officials.
Schumer has been briefed by leaders at the State and Defense departments, and he has also been involved in efforts to facilitate travel for Americans who want to leave Israel. He said Friday that he had called the heads of every U.S.-based airline “to get them to resume their regular flights” from Israel.
Congress, meanwhile, is awaiting a supplemental funding request from the White House that is expected to include additional aid to Israel.
After the meeting with Israeli leaders Sunday, Schumer announced that he would be leading a bipartisan Senate aid package for Israel when he returns to Washington.
“As Senate majority leader, as I mentioned, the highest-ranking Jewish leader in American history, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure the Senate delivers the support Israel needs to accomplish these military, intelligence and humanitarian goals,” he said. “We will not just talk; we will act.”
Source: NBC News