Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday at Ben Gurion International Airport, due to planned disruptions around the airport by anti-government protesters.
Austin will leave Israel immediately following the meetings, according to Israeli officials quoted by Axios reporter Barak Ravid.
Netanyahu and Gallant will reach the meeting via a helicopter to avoid the expected traffic slowdowns.
The venue for the meeting was changed at the request of the Defense Ministry, according to the report.
On Wednesday, Austin met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other officials in Cairo to discuss the security situation in Judea and Samaria. Two days earlier, Austin met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman for a similar discussion. Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials are slated to meet in Cairo on March 17 in the ongoing effort to calm the situation.
As he did in Cairo and Amman, Austin is expected to discuss US concerns over the “cycle of violence” in Judea and Samaria – the American euphemism for ongoing vicious Palestinian Authority terrorist attacks and IDF efforts to stop them.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which Palestinian Authority terrorists ramp up their attacks on Israelis, begins in two more weeks, followed by the start of the Jewish Passover holiday on April 6.
There are a number of flashpoint areas where Israeli security officials will be especially focusing efforts to prevent terror attacks, including the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In deference to those efforts, the Israeli government announced this week that the Temple Mount – considered one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith – will be closed to Jewish visitors for 10 days during Ramadan.
Netanyahu, Gallant and Austin are also expected to discuss the threat from Iran.
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In addition, Israel’s National Cyber Authority has determined that a cyber attack directed against the Technion about three weeks ago originated in Iran.