Ten Minnesota legislators, who paid their own way to take a fact-finding tour of Israel, have returned and say it provided a global perspective and insights into the troubled region.
“I am deeply moved by the historical significance of this region, the complexity of this conflict and the importance of getting it right, said state Sen. Terri Bonoff, of Minnetonka. “While I have discovered the improbability of an easy solution, I have also become convinced that solving this peace puzzle is imperative. The security of all nations is inextricably linked to it.”
State Rep. Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis said: “Our interfaith and bipartisan group had a chance to experience many dimensions of this dynamic region, including diverse perspectives on the peace process. It is more important than ever for leaders at all levels of government to develop a global perspective, especially in a region of such significance for Christians, Jews, and Muslims.”
Others on the trip were: Rep. Bernie Lieder, Crookston; Rep. Tina Liebling, Rochester; Rep. Steve Simon, Saint Louis Park; Rep. Jeremy Kalin, North Branch; Rep. Sandra Masin, Eagan; Rep. Sarah Anderson, Plymouth; Sen. Ann Rest, Golden Valley and Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis.
During the eight-day visit, the group:
- Met with Palestinian and Israeli officials to discuss ongoing peace negotiations.
- Met with the parents of captured Israeli soldier Gilat Shalit, and presented proclamations from the cities Minneapolis and St. Paul demanding his release from Hamas captivity in Gaza.
- Participated in a ceremony at Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, honoring Rep. Bernie Lieder for his role in liberating Nazi forced labor camps in World War II.
- Visited three Israeli high-tech companies conducting intensive research and development of technologies to promote solar energy, and electric vehicles, including Cima Nanotech, which is headquartered in St. Paul.
- Visited an Israeli pre-school for Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, funded in part by donations from the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.