Associated Press: Speaker visits Israel for 60th anniversary events

JERUSALEM (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel Friday to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

The visit by the 13 lawmakers came as President Bush concluded his trip to the Jewish state to celebrate the occasion.

On Friday, the delegation toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum with the speaker of Israel’s parliament, Dalia Itzik. Yad Vashem spokeswoman Estee Yaari said that Pelosi chose the memorial as her first stop because she wanted to ‘see the ashes from which this great phoenix has sprung.’

Pelosi was ‘quite moved’ by the visit, asking repeatedly how the world could have let the Holocaust happen and saying it must never let it happen again, said a Pelosi spokesman, Brendan Daly. Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II.

When laying a memorial wreath, the group remembered the late Democratic congressman from California, Tom Lantos, who was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

The group’s four-day visit will also include meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other leaders. Pelosi will give a speech to Israel’s parliament on Monday.

The delegation includes House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam.

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