The PJ Tatler

GOP, Dem Reps Visit Netanyahu, But No Call from Obama

Two members of Congress met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today to convey their condolences for the killings of three teens and to express their support for Israel.

Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, were kidnapped from the kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the West Bank on June 12. Naftali was a dual citizen with an American passport. Their bodies were discovered this week.

The visit from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, comes as the White House said Wednesday that President Obama had not called Netanyahu.

“I don’t have any calls to read out at this point, or any calls to give you an indication that we’re planning — but as we consider calls like that, we always have a discussion about whether to read them out and if we’re in a position to do so, I’ll make sure that you guys are informed,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Following their meeting with Netanyahu, Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch said in a joint statement that “these last few days have been a trying and difficult time for the people of Israel after the bodies of three of their sons were found.”

“As an entire nation mourned, we mourned with it. We conveyed our deepest sympathies to Prime Minister Netanyahu and reaffirmed to our closest ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, that the United States stands firmly with it as it struggles to cope with the tragic loss of Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and as it seeks to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the lawmakers said.

Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen also discussed with Netanyahu “the threats that Israel faces as the stability of the region continues to deteriorate.”

“The growing threat of extremism in Syria and Iraq, and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program, could have severe repercussions throughout the region, and these toxic obstacles put both Israel and U.S. national security interests at risk,” they said. “We vowed to continue our unwavering support for the people of Israel and their safety and security, and will do whatever we can to ensure Israel maintains her qualitative military edge so that she can defend herself from all threats.”

At a eulogy for the boys on Tuesday, Netanyahu reminded mourners that “a deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies.”

“They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion,” he said. “This is the secret of our strength; it is the foundation of our unity.”