Yaron Sideman, Israel’s new consul general in the region, last week deliverered separate speeches on the floors of the Pennsylvania House and Senate — a rare courtesy granted to someone who is not part of the legislature.
“The relationship between Israel and the United States is deeply rooted in” shared values, Sideman said in his Oct. 16 speech. “It is broad and bipartisan, yet deep and intimate.”
“It knows no political boundaries, and it cuts across administrations and Israeli governments. It is strong and unshakable.”
During his visit to Harrisburg, Sideman also met with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett; Republican House Speaker Sam Smith, who is from western Pennsylvania; and GOP Senate Pro Temp Joe Scarnatti, from Clearfield County in central Pennsylvania.
The talks centered on the U.S.-Israel relationship, ways to bolster economic ties between the Keystone State and the Jewish state and legislation that has targeted firms that do business with Iran.
The trip to Harrisburg was complicated by the fact that it fell on the same day as the funeral of Sen. Arlen Specter, whom Sideman praised during his speech.
For a time, it wasn’t clear whether the House or Senate would cancel the legislative session so members could attend the funeral, or if the governor would have to reschedule.
But the session went on, though flags on the Capitol building — along with American installations around the world — were lowered to half-staff.
Corbett met Sideman early and then left Harrisburg to make it to the Main Line in time for the start of the funeral service at Har Zion Temple.