Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, arriving in Israel from the United States, called the trip a success for Israel-U.S. relations, Ynet reported.
“Biden and I have built up a direct and personal bond built on trust,” Bennett told reporters. “We have achieved all the goals we have set out for ourselves and beyond.”
Bennett said both leaders discussed preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear bomb.
Bennett met with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin while in Washington, D.C. last week, in his first trip abroad as prime minister. Bennett and Biden were expected to meet on Thursday, but the meeting was pushed off due to explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan amidst evacuations which killed 13 American service members.
During Bennett and Biden’s meeting on Friday, Bennett, alluding to Afghanistan said that Israel will “never outsource its security” but did thank Biden for the U.S. agreeing to replenish batteries for the Iron Dome, something that Austin separately committed to.
Biden said he hoped a deal with Iran could be achieved through diplomacy, but acknowledged, “we’ve got other options.” While talks with Iran continue in Vienna, Iran and the United States and European powers are at an impasse over several issues, such as nuclear enrichment. With the recent election in Iran and hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi now leader, agreement seems increasingly unlikely.
Both played down the Palestinian issue, indicating attempts at a peace deal will not be an American priority as it grapples with multiple crises in a turbulent Middle East.
Biden thanked Israel for its “unshakeable support” and reiterated that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is paramount. Bennett in response said, “you’ve always stood beside us, especially in tough times.”