RELEASE: Gottheimer Leads Official Intelligence Trip to Israel

Meets with Prime Minister, American Hostage Families, Director of Mossad, Shin Bet Officials, Israeli First Responders. Qatar Must Deliver & Help Get Hostages Hom. Highlights Importance of U.S. & Biden’s Continued Support to Crush Hamas, Bring Hostages Home, Provide Humanitarian Aid, Protecting Civilians.

Dec 21, 2023
Press

Above: Gottheimer in Israel with family members of American hostages.

NORTH JERSEY — Today, December 21, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) returned from Israel after leading an official Intelligence Committee trip. In Israel, Gottheimer met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli and American intelligence officials, the Director of Mossad, Shin Bet officials, families of American hostages, and Israeli first responders.

Gottheimer participated in discussions with senior-level officials regarding:

  • The role of Qatar. They have the power and the responsibility to help get more hostages freed and should be acting faster.
  • The ongoing efforts to bring every single hostage home safely and quickly.
  • How we can combat the threat of Hezbollah in Lebanon, so that Israelis can return to their homes in the North.
  • Hamas terrorists’ continued use of innocent Palestinians as human shields.
  • Continued bipartisan support for the U.S.- Israel relationship.
  • Israel’s strong relationship and partnership with President Biden and the Administration.
  • The importance of avoiding civilian deaths and providing more humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinians being used by Hamas as human shields.
  • Iran’s continued support of terror groups in the region, including Hamas, Hezbollah in the North, and the Houthis in Yemen. 
  • Houthi attacks on commercial ships to wreak havoc on international maritime trade.
  • The gruesome sexual violence that Hamas has committed against men and women hostages.
  • Russia’s continued, disruptive presence in the region.
  • The importance of planning for “the day after” and what the future of Gaza could look like, including security and governance. 
  • The continued rise in antisemitism across America and the world, especially on college campuses.
  • The future of the Abraham Accords.
  • Hamas’ activity and tunnels, including near UN buildings and weapons in hospitals. Some of these tunnels are more than six stories deep. 
  •  The need to shut down Hamas leadership and cut off the head of the snake.
  • A de-radicalization of teachings in Gaza. serious discussions about the role of nations in the region in maintaining security in Gaza

“In Israel, I discussed the role of Qatar. They, I believe, have the power and responsibility to help get more hostages freed and should be acting faster. They should be doing everything they can. Hamas has a presence in Qatar, and the Qataris also have relationships with Hamas officials. I believe it is incumbent upon them and expected upon them to do everything they can, in those conversations with Hamas and in those relationships, to get the hostages home as quickly as possible. It is on them, strongly on them,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5).

Gottheimer continued, “After 1,200 innocent men, women and children were murdered, and with eight more Americans living in horrifying fear and uncertainty at the hands of terrorists for more than seventy-six days, it was vital that I visit our key ally, Israel, and support them in their fight against terrorism. In Israel, it was an honor to meet with many leaders, first responders, and the families of those held hostage — there is no better way to understand the issues Israel and her people are facing than hearing from them firsthand. We must always remember that Israel’s national security is key to America’s national security, and to our fight against terror, including against Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS. I look forward to making sure that we pass support for Israel in Congress, bring the hostages home, crush Hamas, and provide critically needed humanitarian aid for innocent Palestinian civilians.”  

Gottheimer’s new legislation would expand existing American and Israeli first responder cooperation by creating grants for state and local emergency response providers to travel to Israel, witness the aftermath of the atrocities, and learn firsthand from Israeli first responders who acted so bravely during and after the October 7 attacks. 

Video of Gottheimer’s remarks upon returning to Israel can be found here.

Images of Gottheimer in Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu, United Hatzalah, and families of hostages held by Hamas can be found here.

Below: Gottheimer with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel.

Below: Gottheimer with the Aunt (black shirt) of Edan Alexander, a Tenafly, NJ native who is held hostage by Hamas.

Below: Gottheimer with family members of those held hostage by Hamas.

Below: Gottheimer with United Hatzalah in Israel.


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