JDCA calls on Sec. Tillerson to visit Israel amid violence in Syria

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently traveling to five countries in the Middle East, will not be visiting Israel despite the escalation of violence with Syrian and Iranian forces. The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) calls on the secretary of state to add Israel to his itinerary to show solidarity and coordinate a unified strategy and response to Iranian and Syrian aggressions against the Jewish state. This comes as a top Jewish Republican reports that Secretary Tillerson is “strongly against” adding Israel to his itinerary.

On February 10, Iranian forces located in Syria deployed a drone into Israeli airspace. The Israeli Air Force, shot down the drone, and in response to the breach into Israeli airspace, the IAF engaged and reportedly destroying nearly half of Bashar-al Assad’s air defenses in Syria. Upon reentry to Israel, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire. The Israeli pilots were able to eject from the plane and land in Israel. They were hospitalized and are in stable condition.

JDCA Chair Ron Klein issued the following statement on behalf of the organization:

“President Trump’s erratic and haphazard foreign policy puts both American and Israeli interests at risk. As the Trump administration fails to effectively lead in the region, Russia and Iran dangerously fill the power vacuum. The Russian-backed Assad and Iranian troops, including Hezbollah, and President Trump’s misguided foreign policy threaten to intensify the violence on Israel’s border.

“By refusing to visit Israel, the Trump administration is failing our closest ally in the region. American leadership is vital to countering Syria and Iran’s threats to Israel’s sovereignty and security. Neglecting Israel’s security concerns are an inexcusable display of the Trump administration’s largely-failed foreign policy. Secretary of state Tillerson must show solidarity with Israel by adding the Jewish state to his itinerary at this important time.”