Jerusalem, Israel – October 8, 2023
During the weekend, as the extremist organization Hamas initiated a surprise attack along the Israel-Gaza border, two United States Congress members, namely Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), happened to be in Israel. As confirmed by their respective offices, both legislators have now departed from the country.
Rep. Dan Goldman was in Israel to attend a Bar Mitzvah celebration with his wife and three children when the attack occurred. His spokesperson, Simone Kanter, revealed that “Congressman Goldman and his family sheltered from Hamas rocket fire in their hotel’s interior stairwell until early Sunday morning when they were able to safely depart for New York.” The harrowing experience underscores the unpredictability and danger of the situation.
Senator Cory Booker had initially traveled to Israel on Friday in preparation for his participation in the Abraham Accords summit scheduled for the following Tuesday. Nevertheless, his plans took an unforeseen twist when Hamas initiated attacks against Israel on the subsequent Saturday. Booker and his accompanying staff had to take shelter in Jerusalem for their safety. Spokesperson Maya Krishna-Rogers stated, “We are grateful that Senator Booker and our colleagues were able to safely depart Israel earlier today,” highlighting the relief that they were out of harm’s way.
The Saturday morning assault by Hamas took Israeli forces by surprise, resulting in hundreds of casualties, including deaths, injuries, and kidnappings, with many civilians affected. In response to the attack, both congressmen turned to social media to condemn Hamas’ actions and express their support for Israel.
Representative Dan Goldman posted on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) early Sunday morning, advocating for swift action from Congress: “At a minimum, Congress must replenish — and expand — the Iron Dome as soon as possible,” referencing Israel’s defense system against rocket attacks. He added, “I hope Republicans can get their House in order so we can pass emergency legislation to assist Israel in defending herself.”
Senator Cory Booker also used social media to voice his condemnation of Hamas’ actions and solidarity with Israel: “I emphatically condemn Hamas’ horrific acts of violence, kidnapping, and terror targeting Israeli families, children, and other civilians in towns and cities across the nation of Israel,” Booker wrote. “I stand with the people of Israel and the families of those who have lost loved ones.”
Booker later provided additional insight into their ordeal on social media: “My team and I are now safe, but like many, we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these sickening terrorist attacks.”
The fact that these two Congressional members were in Israel during the attack serves as a clear indication of the unstable conditions in the region and underscores the significance of international diplomacy and collaboration in dealing with the continuous conflict.