Rep. John Boehner, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke to a Chabad synagogue in Florida.
Boehner (R-Ohio), addressing the Shul of Bal Harbour on Sunday, said his affection for Israel dates back to his days as a state lawmaker in Ohio, when he accepted a colleague's invitation to visit the country.
Boehner said that although he had attended many Jewish events in his long political career, it was the first time he had been to a synagogue, according to New York Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, who was at the event. Boehner also cited his close ties to the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, who is currently the only Jewish Republican in Congress.
Boehner "pledged to ensure that under his watch the trust between Israel and America is maintained to the benefit of our mutual defense," according to a release from American Friends of Lubavitch, which organized Boehner's visit.
"He additionally spoke on the importance of education in society (he was Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee) and noted how he is proud to have on his team the highest-ranking Jewish official in U.S. history, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)," the release said.
Republicans and Democrats are heavily focused on Florida, a swing state with a substantial electoral bloc, in this election year.
The visit coincided with a gathering of Jewish military chaplains for an annual retreat sponsored by the Aleph Foundation. Boehner with Jewish chaplains.