WASHINGTON — Long Island Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) are traveling with the presidential delegation attending the Friday funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, the White House announced Thursday.
President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at the funeral, according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, and will return to Washington after the services.
Israel, the highest ranking Jewish Democrat in the House, and Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, will be among the 18 members of Congress accompanying Obama.
Other New York lawmakers in the delegation are Reps. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx). Also in the party will be former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
“Shimon Peres was the finest example of a statesman this world has ever known. I met him many times; and on each occasion, I was awed by his vision for lasting peace,” Israel said in a statement.
“He was a dear friend to the United States,” Israel added, “and I am humbled to travel to Jerusalem to pay our nation’s and my personal respects to our friend one last time.”
Calling it an honor to be asked to be part of the delegation to the funeral services, Zeldin said in a statement, “Peres was deeply committed to preserving peace, security and democracy in Israel and the Middle East.”
Israel, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, chairs the House Democrats’ policy and communications efforts and one of the House members appointed as a trustee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.
Zeldin, a first-term congressman on Long Island’s East End, serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also had planned to attend the Peres funeral. But after the Hoboken, New Jersey, train crash on Thursday, he canceled the trip.