JERUSALEM – President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday for the inauguration a four-day trip to the Middle East It will focus on slowing Iran’s nuclear program, getting oil to America’s gas pumps, and improving relations with Saudi Arabia.
About 50 years after his first visit to Israel as a newly elected senator, Mr. Biden is back as president for the first time and has wasted no time in reaffirming his support for the Jewish state, despite controversy over his efforts He is negotiating a new nuclear deal with Iran.
“Any chance to return to this great land, where the Jewish people have their ancient roots going back to Biblical times, is a blessing because the connection between the people of Israel and the people of America is bone deep,” he said. Biden said during a brief arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport. “From generation to generation, this connection grows.”
Mr. Noting, as he often does, that he has known every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, whom he met on his first visit in 1973, Biden was making his 10th visit to Israel and seemed intent on dispelling any notion that he was less supportive. He has supported more countries than his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, who made his support for Israel a cornerstone of his foreign policy.
“Our relationship is deeper than it’s ever been in my opinion,” he said. Biden said.
Israeli leaders who greeted him as he disembarked from the air force echoed those sentiments and emphasized that they were looking up to Mr. Obama. Biden like a friend and makes little mention of their differences. President Isaac Herzog called him “our brother Joseph” and said, “You are truly in the family.” The country’s interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, called him “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.”
“It’s a very personal trip,” he said. Lapid said, “Because your relations with Israel have always been very personal. You once identified yourself as a Zionist. You said that you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. And you were right.”
Without dwelling on it, sir. Lapid confirmed that the two leaders will discuss joint efforts to expand cooperation between Iran and Middle Eastern countries. After being isolated in the region, Israel is increasingly involved in regional diplomacy landmark diplomatic deals with three Arab countries in 2020 — and officials hope more progress will be made under Mr. President. Biden’s visit.
Mr. Biden also touched on another area of potential tension, renewing his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after criticism that his administration has not prioritized the issue.
“While I know there is no new deadline for a two-state solution in my view to ensure a future of equal freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis, we will discuss my continued support. Palestinians are the same.” Biden said.
Before his arrival, the Israeli government made several small gestures to the Palestinians, including granting some new work permits to Gazans. But mr. Biden will visit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, restoring communications disrupted during Trump’s presidency, with little expectation that the visit will make progress in resolving the dispute.
Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, cut a peripheral figure at the welcome ceremony. Now out of office, he is the leader of the opposition and will only hold a brief meeting with the president on Thursday.
But he and mr. Biden has a warm, often fractious relationship dating back 40 years, and the American leader has tried to seek out Mr. Johnson. Netanyahu poses for a group photo for Israeli and US officials. Mr. Biden gave to the gentlemen. Netanyahu gave a long, warm handshake, and both men gave the impression that they were happy to see each other.
The president’s visit coincides with a sensitive moment in Israeli politics. Fragile governing coalition recently collapsed, Mr. Lapid resigned as interim prime minister until the November elections. Netanyahu hopes to make a comeback.
At the end of the reception, M. Lapid joked about him and Mr. Biden’s respective trajectories since the previous meeting between the two in Washington.
said the gentleman. Biden: “I don’t know if you remember, but eight years ago when you were vice president, we met at the White House. You said to me, “I wish I had hair like yours, I would be president,” and I replied, “If I were your height, I would be prime minister.”
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