Members of the Republican National Committee will be treated early next year to a weeklong all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, according to an email from chairman Reince Priebus obtained by TIME.
The 168 members of the committee, three from each state, district, and territory, have been invited to visit the country from Jan. 31–Feb.8, 2015, paid for by conservative political operative David Lane’s American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. The meeting follows January's winter meeting of the party committee in Coronado, Calif., where Priebus is set to be resoundingly re-elected to his post.
According to Priebus' email, the trip is not an RNC event, but is reserved exclusively and is being coordinated by the RNC for members and their guests.
An RNC spokesperson said the trip was not officially a committee trip, but is a “spiritual, historic journey through Israel” organized by the groups in concert with RNC faith director Chad Connelly. According to the official, who declined to be named, about 60 members RSVPd to attend, or 36% of the full committee.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate, joined Lane on a trip to Israel in 2013. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is considering a second presidential campaign in 2016, joined Lane with other Christian pastors on a tour of Poland and England this year, retracing the steps of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another possible 2016 Republican candidate, has also visited Israel with Lane.
The American Renewal Project, a conservative non-profit focused on getting Christians more involved in American politics, has recently been working to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for public office in 2016,
Here is a look at the full invitation, which was sent out on Nov. 21.
Dear RNC Members,
As previously announced, the RNC Members have been invited in their personal capacity, to participate on a trip to Israel in early 2015. This incredible opportunity is made possible through the generosity of David Lane’s American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. The trip to Israel will take place January 31 – February 8, 2015.
For RNC Members, the trip includes economy class roundtrip airfare from JFK International Airport to Israel, all meals, accommodations (based on double occupancy per room), tours, and admissions to museums and historic sites. RNC members are permitted to bring their spouse or a guest; however the spouse/guest will have to pay their way entirely including all airfare, hotels and meals. The approximate cost for the guest will be worked out once the agenda is finalized. RNC Members (and guests) will be responsible for their flight from their home airport to New York. The group will travel together from New York to Israel. Upgrades for the flight and single hotel room assignments are available for additional costs.
If you are interested in participating in the trip to Israel, please RSVP to Katie Hrkman in Member Services at ------------- by Friday, November 28th.
Once we receive notice from all interested Members, we will notify those who have been selected so that travel arrangements and other details can be arranged.
Please note that although this is a trip for RNC Members and guests, this trip is not an RNC event.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Member Services at --------------.