U.S. Senator Took Shelter In Israel When Hamas Attacked
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, departs a closed-door intelligence briefing on the alleged Chinese spy balloon on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.
(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has departed Israel after taking shelter in the country when Hamas launched a surprise attack from Gaza this weekend, his office announced on Sunday.

A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Booker had traveled to the country in part to deliver a speech at an event marking the deals brokered by the Trump administration to normalize relations between Israel and Arab nations.

“On Friday, October 6, Senator Booker arrived in Israel for several days of planned meetings and site visits ahead of the start of an Abraham Accords-focused N7 summit on regional economic integration in Tel Aviv, at which he was scheduled to speak on Tuesday,” said Booker’s spokesperson Maya Krishna-Rogers.

“Senator Booker and accompanying staff were in Jerusalem when Hamas launched their attacks against Israel on Saturday, and sheltered in place for their safety. We are grateful that Senator Booker and our colleagues were able to safely depart Israel earlier today,” the statement added.

Booker later posted a short video to X in which he personally shared details about his experience.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group began an attack with rockets and gunmen crossing the border on Saturday, leading to reports of people getting killed and kidnapped. As of Sunday, with Israel ramping up its efforts to fight back, officials have estimated hundreds of people have died and thousands are wounded in Israel and Gaza.

“I emphatically condemn Hamas’ horrific acts of violence, kidnapping and terror targeting Israeli families, children and other civilians in towns and cities across the nation of Israel. I stand with the people of Israel and the families of those who have lost loved ones,” Booker said in a statement on Saturday.


Another member of Congress, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), was also in Israel over the weekend with his wife and three youngest children for a family Bar Mitzvah, his office said in a statement.

“Congressman Goldman and his family sheltered from Hamas rocket fire in their hotel’s interior stairwell until early Sunday morning, when they were able to safely depart for New York,” the statement added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the Biden administration is looking into reports of Americans being killed or taken hostage in Israel.

“We have reports that several Americans were killed. We’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” the top U.S. diplomat said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

After Hamas began its attack, the Biden administration and top officials across the U.S. government pledged support for Israel. Meanwhile, officials in places across the United States with large Jewish populations said police would beef up security around Jewish institutions.

In Booker’s home state of New Jersey, law enforcement “will be increasing patrols in sensitive areas – particularly houses of worship for both the Jewish and Islamic faiths – and taking other steps out of an abundance of caution,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin.

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