One in Five Congressmen Going to Israel This Summer

About 20 percent of Congress is heading to Israel this summer, courtesy of the annual America-Israel Public Affairs Committee program.

The 81-member delegation  -- 55 Republicans and 26 Democrats -- is a bit bigger than usual because of the large freshman class elected in 2010, said an AIPAC spokesman, who declined to be identified.

The spokesman also would not divulge which, if any, Florida congressmen were traveling. "We do not provide that information, as a courtesy to the members," he said.

Independently, Sunshine State News confirmed with Rep. Steve Southerland's office that the Tallahassee Republican is among the lawmakers on the trip.

The trips are funded by the America-Israel Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.

"There is no [Israeli] government money involved," the spokesman said.

While in the Holy Land, members of Congress are scheduled to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. AIPAC said the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority is on the itinerary, but that President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet confirmed his participation.

AIPAC describes itself as "America's leading pro-Israel lobby."

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