JERUSALEM – President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday to open a four-day visit to the Middle East focused on trying to slow Iran’s nuclear program, transferring oil to US gas pumps, and improving relations with Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 50 years after he made his first visit to Israel as the newly elected senator. Biden returned for the first time as president and wasted no time in seeking to reaffirm his unwavering support for the Jewish state despite disagreement over his efforts to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.
“Every opportunity to return to this great country where the ancient roots of the Jewish people go back to biblical times is a blessing, because the relationship between the Israeli people and the American people is so deep,” El-Sayed said. Biden said during a brief arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport. “Generation after generation, this connection is growing.”
the master. Biden, who has noted as he often does that he knows every Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, whom he met on his first visit in 1973, was making his tenth visit to Israel and seems intent on dispelling the idea that he is less supportive. From his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, who made his support for Israel a cornerstone of his foreign policy.
“Our relationship is deeper than ever before,” Biden said.
Israeli leaders welcomed him as he stepped off the presidential plane, and confirmed that they were looking at Mr. Biden as a friend and without noticing their differences. President Isaac Herzog nicknamed him “Our Brother Joseph,” saying, “You are truly among the family.” The country’s interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, called him “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.”
“It’s a very personal visit,” Lapid said, “because your relationship with Israel has always been very personal. You once defined yourself as a Zionist. You said you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. And you were right.”
Without going into it, mr. Lapid confirmed that the two leaders will discuss Iran and their joint efforts to enhance cooperation among Middle Eastern countries. Once isolated in the region, Israel’s involvement in regional diplomacy is increasing, following historic diplomatic deals with three Arab states in 2020 — and officials hope for more progress during Mr. Biden visit.
the master. Biden similarly touched on another area of potential tension, reiterating his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after criticism that his administration did not prioritize the issue.
“We will discuss my continued support, although I know not in a new period, for a two-state solution which remains in my view the best way to ensure an equal future of freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Biden said.
Prior to his arrival, the Israeli government made several small initiatives towards the Palestinians, including granting some new work permits to Gaza residents. but while it was mr. Biden will visit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, to restore contacts severed during Trump’s presidency, and there are few expectations that the visit will make progress in resolving the conflict.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, cut a fringe figure at the welcoming ceremony. Now out of office, he is the leader of the opposition and will have only a short meeting with the president on Thursday.
but he and mr. Biden has enjoyed a warm, if often fraught, relationship that goes back four decades, and the US leader has been keen to find Mr. Biden. Netanyahu during a group photo of Israeli and American officials. the master. Biden gave mr. Netanyahu had his hand long and warm, and both men gave the impression of happiness to see each other.
The president’s trip comes at a sensitive moment in Israeli politics. A fragile ruling coalition recently collapsed, leaving Mr. Lapid served as caretaker prime minister until the November elections, in which El-Sayed participated. Netanyahu hopes to return.
At the conclusion of the reception a. Lapid joked about his identity and Mr. Biden tracks apart since a previous meeting between the two in Washington.
said to mr. Biden: “I don’t know if you remember, but eight years ago we met in the White House when I was vice president. You told me, ‘If my hair were like yours, I’d be president,'” and I replied, “If I only had your height, I’d be president.” to the Ministers.