JERUSALEM — It is high season for travel to the Holy Land.
The previous New York City mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, squeezed onto an El Al commercial flight in an everyman’s show of support. Members of Congress, eager to report back to their constituents, are carving time out of their schedules.
And on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who has resolutely avoided anything resembling the résumé-burnishing travel of a presidential hopeful, arrived here for a state visit that included a stop at the Western Wall. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, eager to showcase the support of prominent American leaders, set aside time for a meeting and remarks from side-by-side lecterns.
Summertime trips to Israel are nothing new for American officials, but amid the fighting in Gaza, more and more of them are seizing on their annual sojourns or booking last-minute excursions to make a political statement. Representative Steve Israel, a Democrat from Long Island, just got back; Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island, will depart this month.
The visits are mutually beneficial. The Israeli government, which has received international criticism, gets special guests to help make its case. And for American politicians, nothing demonstrates solidarity like actually showing up.
The well-publicized trips are documented through Twitter posts, news releases and, in Mr. Cuomo’s case, a gaggle of traveling reporters.
“We know you’re going through a very difficult time, and that’s precisely why we are here,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat up for re-election this year, told Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, on his first stop after an overnight flight with leaders of the New York Legislature.
New York has the largest population of Jewish residents outside Israel, so its officeholders have ample incentive to travel here, and many of them are doing just that. But Mr. Cuomo’s trip — his first international travel since taking office as governor in 2011 — is striking, because he seemed to take a rare step toward grappling with issues beyond the statehouse stalemates in which he has immersed himself.
Mr. Rivlin even slipped when he met with Mr. Cuomo, addressing him as “Mr. President.”
The trip also gave Mr. Cuomo, who more than perhaps any other potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender has been eclipsed by Mrs. Clinton, a chance to one-up her.
In an interview published over the weekend, Mrs. Clinton gave such a strong defense of the Israeli government that prominent critics called her “Israel’s lawyer.” But Mr. Cuomo is going further, making political aliyah with his two-day visit. The voyages here have come in different shapes and sizes. Mr. Bloomberg, a little less than seven months removed from City Hall, chose to protest a temporary ban by the Federal Aviation Administration on flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket landed near the airport.
Mr. Netanyahu greeted Mr. Bloomberg, a political independent, with an enthusiastic hug.
“He was quite moved by it,” Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States who helped arrange the trip, said of Mr. Netanyahu. “He thought that really stood out as the right thing to do at the right time.”
Mr. Bloomberg seemed to relish the spotlight, defiantly pronouncing Ben-Gurion Airport to be “the safest airport in the whole world.”
Late last month, Mr. Israel took the stage at an enormous rally in support of Israel in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by the United Nations and offered a declaration. “I am traveling to Israel,” he told the crowd, “because not only do we stand up for Israel in New York, we stand up for Israel in Israel.”
Mr. Israel ended up traveling there as part of a delegation of nine members of Congress. But the timing of the trip, which was organized by a nonprofit group affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, proved fortuitous.
On Monday, fresh off his trip, Mr. Israel briefed the Democratic caucus via conference call about his experience. Afterward, he said, he received several emails from fellow members “asking how they can get over there.”
In a deeply polarized Congress, support for Israel has become a rare issue upon which Democrats and Republicans can agree.
“It’s couscous diplomacy,” Mr. Israel said, adding that his delegation, composed of six Democrats and three Republicans, ate every meal together on their trip.
Mr. King is planning to travel to Israel this month for a two-day visit. He was invited by Malcolm I. Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who said members of Congress had been reaching out to him.
“This morning I was called about another trip involving members of Congress,” Mr. Hoenlein said. “Very often it’s people calling us and saying, ‘Is there a trip going that I can join?’ ”
One of the more influential non-Jewish organizations, Christians United for Israel, organized a trip to Israel on Aug. 4 for 51 pastors — one from each state and the District of Columbia — who visited Mount Herzl, where they read the biographies of some of the fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
“There were a lot of wet eyes,” the group’s executive director, David Brog, said. He added that he had been approached by the team of former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has sought the Republican nomination for president, about a possible trip.
Even liberal Jewish groups who have been more measured in their support for the war, and have expressed wariness of the lack of recognition for the high numbers of Palestinian casualties, have organized trips.
Two weeks ago, J Street, which was established as a more liberal alternative to Aipac, sent an “emergency mission” of 15 members of its executive board, including student leaders, to show support to Israel “and all victims who are suffering from this horrible crisis.”
Perhaps no state has seen more politicians flocking to Israel than New York, where at times it has seemed as though the campaign trail leads through Jerusalem.
“I said that if and when I won the primary, the first thing I was going to do was take a trip to Israel,” said Kathleen M. Rice, a Democratic district attorney on Long Island who is seeking to represent a congressional district with a large Jewish population.
Ms. Rice traveled there last month. “I felt that there was no better time to publicly show my support for Israel than while her people are under attack,” she said.
The Manhattan borough president, Gale Brewer, a Democrat, will visit Israel on Sunday, at her own expense, at the behest of a Jewish organization on the West Side.
Dov Hikind, a Democratic state assemblyman whose Brooklyn district includes heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods like Borough Park, traveled to Israel last month. He checked into a hotel in Beersheba, not far from Gaza. “The first thing they gave me were instructions on how to run for cover,” Assemblyman Hikind said.
Indeed, at breakfast at the hotel one morning, a siren blared, instructing Mr. Hikind and his companions to do just that.
“It’s something I will never forget the rest of my life,” he said. “You’re running and hiding and you think, ‘Where’s that missile going to fall?’ ”
Mr. Cuomo’s trip, with a delegation that includes his brother-in-law Kenneth Cole, the designer, and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the publisher of The Daily News, was less fraught with danger, at least on Wednesday. His group landed midday and proceeded to a pair of private meetings with Mr. Rivlin and Mr. Netanyahu.
“I thank you for coming here,” Mr. Netanyahu told the governor, “and standing on the right side of the moral divide.”
Later in the day, reaching back toward home, Mr. Cuomo visited Big Apple Pizza here in Jerusalem to meet with students from New York. He came bearing gifts, handing out baseball caps with the “I ♥ NY” logo, and he asked about the toll that the recent fighting had taken.
“How does it feel on the ground when all of this is going on?” the governor asked. “Can you feel it? Can you tell?”
“It’s palpable,” said Grant Hartman, a 26-year-old from West Hempstead, on Long Island, studying at Hebrew University.
Mr. Cuomo pronounced the pizza satisfactory, given the distance from New York. Mr. Hartman pronounced himself pleased that the governor had traveled so far.
“I think it’s great that somebody is taking a stand for Israel,” he said.