In a display of support for Israel amid its war with Hamas, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is making a surprise visit to Israel. The governor’s visit comes in the aftermath of a devastating attack on October 7th, which claimed the lives of more than 1,400 people, left over 4,000 wounded, and resulted in the abduction of more than 200 individuals.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported this unexpected development, revealing Newsom’s decision to alter his international travel plans. Originally slated for a trip to China, the Democratic governor chose to make a brief stop in Israel before embarking on his journey to Asia.

Erin Mellon, the governor’s spokesperson, released a statement regarding the change in plans: “The governor adjusted his planned international trip and will briefly visit Israel ahead of going to China. While in Israel, the governor will meet with those impacted by the violence.”

Newsom’s visit to Israel is scheduled for Friday, and he will depart later that day. The specific locations within Israel that he will visit remain undisclosed due to security concerns. 

Furthermore, California is reportedly extending support to the region by dispatching essential medical supplies. This initiative is driven by the recognition that Californians were directly affected by the attack, both as victims and survivors.

Taking to Twitter to announce his visit, Newsom wrote, “I’m on my way to Israel. I’ll be meeting with those impacted by the horrific terrorist attacks and offering California’s support.”

The governor’s gesture of solidarity has garnered appreciation from some quarters. In response to the news, the CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council in the Bay Area issued a statement: “The fact that he is willing to make this trip in wartime proves once again that he recognizes and values the U.S.-Israel relationship, as well as the Jewish community both here in the state of California and around the world.”

His planned visit, which comes after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s visit to the embattled nation, stands in contrast to the general consensus within the Democratic Party on the Israel-Palestine conflict. While some members of his party have expressed support for the Palestinians, Newsom has consistently shown his support for Israel.