Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to the United States and meet with President Joe Biden this upcoming Thursday, August 26, Axios reported.
The meeting was initially planned for July, but was pushed off due to rising coronavirus cases, domestic issues in Israel, and Biden’s schedule. Israeli officials are eager for a chance to reset relations with U.S. politicians after more than a decade of Benjamin Netanyahu in power.
In a statement, the White House said, “Prime Minister Bennett’s visit will strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, reflect the deep ties between our governments and our people, and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. The President and Prime Minister Bennett will discuss critical issues related to regional and global security, including Iran.”
Bennett will arrive as Biden is grappling with a major foreign policy crisis, as Afghanistan collapses and the Taliban take control.
Israeli officials are reportedly deeply disturbed by what they call a major U.S. intelligence failure, and the message they fear it sends to the region.
“The U.S. wants to disengage from the Middle East but finds out the Middle East is running after it,” said an Israeli official.
They hope the Afghanistan crisis while make the U.S. rethink pulling troops from Syria and Iraq. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier in August and raised concerns about Afghanistan and broader U.S. withdrawal from the region.
Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He claimed in a social media post that in 2013 he was invited to Afghanistan by then-Secretary of State John Kerry to see how the U.S. had built up the Afghan military. “The message was clear — the U.S. wanted to implement the Afghanistan model in the Palestinian file too,” Netanyahu wrote.
Updated Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 2:20 pm .