Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Thursday that she soon will travel to Israel with other members of Congress to “show our solidarity with the Israeli people.”

The Republican teased the trip during an interview with The Washington Post that also included Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and focused mostly on the country’s health care system, the cost of prescription medications and more.

Collins shared the news while answering a question about the Biden administration’s proposal to ask Congress for $100 billion in aid that would support Israel, as well as Ukraine and other areas. Collins is the Republican chair of the Appropriations Committee.

“Assisting Israel as it confronts the worst terrorist attacks and the greatest number of deaths since the Holocaust is absolutely critical,” Collins said in a clip shared by The Washington Post. “And a group of us in the coming days are going to be visiting Israel to show our solidarity with the Israeli people.”

Israel was attacked this month by Hamas militants, sparking a conflict that has led to thousands of deaths and increased turmoil throughout the Middle East. So far, the retaliatory effort from Israeli forces have been in the form of airstrikes, but the nation’s defense minister has warned that a ground assault is imminent.

President Biden visited Israel this week to show support for the nation that has long been a U.S. ally but also to caution Israelis against being consumed by rage and to remind the world that not all Palestinians support Hamas. Indeed, many Palestinian victims have been children.


It wasn’t clear when Collins and her group might travel overseas or who else might go on the trip, although Punchbowl News reported Thursday that a bipartisan delegation of eight senators would leave Thursday night to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

A spokesperson for Maine’s other senator, independent Angus King, said that King is reviewing and weighing the available options for a trip to the Middle East with his Senate colleagues.

Collins, also a member of the Intelligence Committee, has traveled abroad many times before, including a trip to Israel last year. Traveling to a war zone is less common, and certainly riskier, although Congressional delegations travel under heavy security.

The State Department issued an alert Thursday to all Americans abroad and those traveling to “exercise increased caution” due to the Israel-Hamas war and cited the “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.”

Also Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of Israel. Collins and King were co-sponsors.

“The Senate stands with Israel as it defends itself, including Israeli efforts to diminish the threat posed by Hamas; reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and is committed to helping Israel safeguard its people from future aggression,” the resolution states. “The Senate calls on all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas’ war on Israel, including Hamas’ intentional targeting of, and attacks against, civilians.”

Widespread support for Israel in the Senate could be a good sign as Biden seeks to secure additional funding for the nation, as well as Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia since February 2022. The $100 billion request also includes some money for Taiwan’s defense and for managing the flow of migrants at the southern border with Mexico.

But the inclusion of more funds for Ukraine could be a sticking point for Republicans, especially in the House, who have grown increasingly frustrated by continued support of Ukraine. Collins, however, has been supportive of continuing aid to Ukraine.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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