U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., will travel to Israel while Congress is in on break next week to meet with top-ranking officials from the Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority and to visit businesses and institutions with Minnesota ties.
During the trip, Franken will visit Medtronic’s Herzliya office and the University of Minnesota-affiliated Poriah Hospital in Tiberias, which is a sister city of St. Paul. He'll also meet with officials from Israel’s renewable energy industry.
“Israel is a key U.S. ally and the Middle East is a critically important region. " Sen. Franken said in a statement. "I’m looking forward to meeting with top officials there to discuss the transformations that have affected the region, the security situation, and the prospects for making progress on peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Those are vital subjects not just for the region, but also for the United States. I'm also looking forward to learning more about the innovative work being done in Israel in areas related to my work in the Senate, whether it be health care or renewable energy. I'm especially excited about visiting with Minnesota companies and Minnesota-affiliated institutions involved in that work in Israel."
The American Israel Educational Foundation, a privately funded Washington, D.C.-based lobby affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, will pay for the Middle East trip.
AIPAC is an influential voice in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Israel’s interests and frequently sponsors congressional trips there. The foundation funds the trips, which they call educational seminars, for members of Congress and other people influential in federal politics. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Keith Ellison are among the Minnesota lawmakers who have taken AIPAC-sponsored trips to Israel as part of larger delegations. It wasn’t immediately known if Franken would be traveling with other lawmakers.