President Joe Biden will land at Ben Gurion International Airport Wednesday at 3:30 PM, accompanied by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. He will meet at the foot of the Air Force 1 with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Yair Lapid, and Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. It will be Biden’s tenth visit to the Jewish State and his first visit since becoming the leader of the free world.
The first display Israel will present to the visiting president will be, courtesy of the Defense Ministry, Israel’s multi-tiered air defense four operational defense layers:
1. “Arrow 3” – Intercepts long-range, exo-atmospheric threats
2. “Arrow 2” – Intercepts medium to long-range threats
3. “David’s Sing” – Intercepts short to medium-range threats
4. “Iron Dome” – Intercepts short-range threats
The US Congress has recently passed a bill adding $1 billion to Israel’s annual $3.8 billion military aid, to help it re-stock its Iron Dome systems.
Thank you, America.
Biden will listen to a short lecture by Defense Minister Benny Gantz on the tactical abilities of each defense system his country is been paying for, and the cooperation of these defense systems. Perhaps a sales brochure would be handed out to someone in the entourage.
Biden will also be presented for the first time with the “Iron Beam” laser system, which has proven successful in intercepting rockets, UAVs, and mortar shells. We are led to understand that when it becomes operational, the “Magen Or” laser would be considerably cheaper to operate than $1 billion a year.
Around 5:30 PM, Biden, Lapid, and Herzog will visit Yad Vashem.
On Thursday, Biden and Lapid will meet at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, after which they are expected to issue a statement outlining the United States’ commitment to work for Israel’s security. We understand it will be named the Jerusalem Announcement.
We received several images from the Waldorf’s spokesperson on their preparations for the visit. We picked this one because it looked the most dangerous:
Biden will meet with opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu for 15 minutes. It’s a nice gesture, if somewhat limited. Clearly, Biden does not want Bibi to visit him in an official capacity in the White House.
After the Bibi thing, President Herzog will present Biden with the Presidential Medal, in a solemn ceremony at the Presidential Residence with the participation of government ministers.
From the president’s residence, Biden will leave for Teddy Stadium in the city to attend the opening ceremony of the 21st Maccabiah Games. This was obviously a stop that came up in some committee meeting when someone looked at the calendar and said, Hey, guys, the Maccabiah opening takes place right when Joe Biden is in town!
Friday will be all about the cousins: Biden will visit the Augusta Victoria Arab Hospital in eastern Jerusalem, without Israeli officials. They asked and were refused. Then he will go to Bethlehem, where he will meet with the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The Carter Center, founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, called on President Biden to make human rights a central theme of his meetings with “Palestinian and Israeli leaders.” The Center urged Biden “to call for an end to Israeli administrative detentions of Palestinians, night raids, the illegal settlement projects in East Jerusalem and the West Bank,” and declared that “incarceration without trial or charge violates international law, and the settlements are in violation of both international law and Camp David Accords.”
The Center also called for “ending the 15-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, easing freedom of movement to allow Palestinians to receive medical treatment and exit to other countries, and protecting the rights of Palestinian-American citizens who face administrative detention, denial of travel, family separation, and lack of access to their property in Palestinian territory.”
The Carter Center also stressed the need for “a stronger response to and a comprehensive investigation into the Israeli occupation forces’ killing of US citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh during an Israeli military raid on Jenin refugee camp on May 11.”
Obviously, much of the above garbage will be filtered out by the presidential delegation, but be sure, the gist of it will stay.
Israel will issue a series of concessions to the PA Arabs ahead of the visit, including an agreement to deploy a fourth-generation cellular network (4G) in Judea and Samaria, establishing a symbolic PA security force presence at the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan, and easing the process for PA Arabs flying abroad through Ramon Airport.
Israel does not expect Biden to raise the issue of opening a US consulate in eastern Jerusalem, which would constitute a de facto recognition of that part of the city as the capital of Palestine. But you know, a lot can happen during a visit and Uncle Joe occasionally forgets what he’s not supposed to say until it’s too late.
On Friday afternoon, Biden is expected to take off on a direct flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia, an unusual feat in itself. He may or may not take an Israeli official onboard Air Force 1 to meet with Saudi officials. One thing is certain: the Saudis already like the Israelis better than they do Joe Biden.