Source: New Jersey Jewish Standard -Twelve state legislators from New Jersey visited Israel from February 27 through March 3. They were on a tour organized by the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations. Most of the participants are not Jewish; for most of them it was a first trip to Israel. 

The itinerary included visits to New Jersey-Israeli “sister” cities such Nahariya, as well as many sites of religious, historic, and geopolitical significance. The lawmakers visited an absorption center for Ethiopian Jews, Yatir Winery, Jewish and Bedouin Negev cities, the Technion, and Western Galilee Hospital. They dined in a variety of ethnic restaurants and spoke with a range of Israelis, from lone soldiers and industrialists to community activists and government officials.

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Dist. 39), who is Catholic, brought along her husband, who is Jewish. “To see the roots of both of our faiths has been incredible,” she said.

She said that she listened carefully to speakers with differing viewpoints on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and Iran, and “how to bring lasting peace to a region when there is so much instability in surrounding countries.”

She also noted: “As one of only two Republicans on this trip, it afforded me the opportunity to get to know some of my Democratic colleagues, and it’s been very interesting to get their perspectives.”