Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday shortly after 1 pm local time, within hours after his arrival in Washington DC.
BREAKING: President Joe Biden meets with Israel's President Isaac Herzog at the White House. pic.twitter.com/KGuTaJFlDC
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While the meeting itself was private, the two presidents allowed media into the Oval Office to share their respective opening remarks.
In his statement, President Biden reiterated America’s firm commitment to Israel’s security and promised the US will ensure that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons.
“America’s commitment to Israel is firm and it is ironclad,” he said.
President Herzog said that he brought greetings to the US president from Israelis from “all sides of the country’s political spectrum.” He also thanked Biden for “pursuing cooperation, integration” with more regional partners for peace with Israel.
“The heated debate which we are going through in as a society, it’s a heated debate, but it’s also a virtue and a tribute to the greatness of Israeli democracy,” Herzog explained.
The Israeli president said he was pleased to hear that President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Israel in a phone conversation on Monday ith Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Some enemies of ours sometimes [have] mistaken the fact we may have some differences [that they are] impacting our unbreakable bond,” Herzog said, explaining that even when US and Israeli leaders have personal differences, they do not affect the commitment and the friendship of the two nations.
Neither man took questions and Biden’s staff escorted media from the room immediately following their statements.
According to Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Biden invited Netanyahu to meet with him at the White House in September. An earlier readout of their conversation and a statement from the White House seemed to leave the question of where and when their meeting would take place, deliberately vague.
Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu promised Biden during their conversation that he would freeze construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and that after the summer break the only judicial reform issue that will be discussed will be around changes to the method of appointing judges.