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Monday, August 10, 2009

Bright on Fact-Finding Trip in the Holy Land

U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, arrived in Israel Sunday morning as a part of a fact-finding trip with other members of Congress, according to a press release from his congressional office.

Bright says the goal of the trip is to learn more about the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Middle East peace talks, Israel's security situation, and the status of important economic and political trends in Israel.

Bright, who is a Christian, said he is also looking forward to seeing the holy sites and history of Jerusalem and the region. He will be in Israel through Aug. 15.

“The United States has no better ally than Israel; our relationship with the country is essential to our success in foreign policy in the region and world,” Bright said in the statement. “As the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel is the bulwark in a region that is oftentimes chaotic and hostile to American interests. For these reasons, maintaining our strong partnership with the nation of Israel is a top foreign policy priority.”

Bright will participate in several high-level meetings with a wide variety of leaders -Israeli, Palestinian, secular, religious, government, opposition, as well as experts in the peace process, U.S.-Israeli defense cooperation, and Israel's economy. The group will also learn how Israel has combated terrorism and secured its borders.

“Though visiting the Holy Land is important from a policy perspective, the trip has personal significance,” Bright said. “I make no secret of the fact that my Christianity is fundamental to who I am, both as a person and an elected official charged with making good decisions for his district, state, and nation. My faith is tremendously important to me, and prayer helps to guide me through everything that I do. As a deacon in a Southern Baptist church, I believe visiting Jerusalem and the holy sites throughout the region is an integral part of my spiritual journey.”

The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) is sponsoring the trip. AIEF sponsors, among other things, educational programs such as trips to Israel for community leaders and elected officials, seminars on Middle East issues at universities across the country, and other projects that help to educate the general public about U.S.-Israel relations.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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