(CNN) — Sen. Marco Rubio will visit Israel and Jordan on a weeklong trip to the Middle East that started Saturday, the Florida Republican announced.
He will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In Jordan, he will meet with King Abdullah, he said.
This trip comes days after he delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
“On foreign policy, America continues to be indispensable to the goal of global liberty, prosperity and safeguarding human rights,” Rubio said in his response. “The world is a better place when America is the strongest nation on Earth. But we can’t remain powerful if we don’t have an economy that can afford it.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council blasted Rubio for not mentioning Israel in his response, though Obama only mentioned Israel once in his speech.
Rubio serves on both the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees.
He plans to speak with the Israeli leaders about the peace process with Palestinians and Egypt.
“America’s friendship with Israel is a truly special one, and we must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region,” he said in a statement Saturday. “As Iran continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, we must continue to apply pressure through every possible means in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.”
In Jordan, he is “interested in learning more firsthand about the impact the Syrian civil war and how the humanitarian crisis that has resulted is impacting Jordan and the region.”
Rubio said his wife would accompany him on the trip but not at taxpayer expense. He has previously visited Israel.