Washington, D.C. – Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the senior Democratic Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“The world has lost one of the strongest defenders of Israel -- a man who fought in nearly every one of Israel's wars and devoted his public life to ensuring that the Jewish state be able to defend itself against those committed to its destruction.”

“I was fortunate enough to receive his counsel on a number of occasions regarding our shared goals of strengthening the bonds between the United States and Israel. He was as committed to the U.S.-Israel relationship as he was to promoting Israel's own security. His passing marks the end of a unique and important chapter in Israel's history."