- Title: Israel's new leader to present Iran plan in first White House visit
- Date: 25th August 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (AUGUST 25, 2021) (STATE TV - Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN AND ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NAFTALI BENNETT SEATED IN A HOTEL SUITE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NAFTALI BENNETT, IN AN EXCHANGE WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: BLINKEN: "We look forward to a very good conversation. You've already seen the Secretary of Defense. And, again, we're just the opening act for the President." BENNETT: "I have news for you -- there's no elections in Israel now." (Laughter). BLINKEN: "Well, and I have to say, not that I want to intrude into your politics, but it has--" BENNETT: "Please do!" (Laughter). Maybe it will help." BLINKEN: "No, I was going to say that you have something to teach us. So, thank you. We look forward to learning about that too. BENNETT: "Thank you. Thank you very much." U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN AND ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NAFTALI BENNETT SEATED IN A HOTEL SUITE
- Embargoed: 8th September 2021 22:11
- Keywords: Antony Blinken Iran Iron Dome Joe Biden Lloyd Austin Naftali Bennett missile defense
- Location: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERS4A4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected during his first White House visit on Thursday (August 26) to push U.S. President Joe Biden to harden his approach to Iran, with few prospects their talks will lead to renewed movement on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Yet both Israel and the United States have expressed hope the meeting will set a positive tone between Biden and Bennett, a far-right politician and high-tech millionaire who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister in June.
This would stand in sharp contrast to years of tensions between the conservative Netanyahu, who was close to former President Donald Trump, and the last Democratic administration led by Barack Obama with Biden as his vice president.
The visit gives the U.S. administration an opportunity to demonstrate business as usual with its closest Middle East ally while it contends with the chaotic situation in Afghanistan, Biden's biggest foreign policy crisis since taking office.
But Israel faces concern from Washington over housing construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, on land Palestinians seek for a state. U.S.-Israeli friction over the issue was absent while Trump was in office.
Bennett is less dramatic but publicly just as adamant as Netanyahu in pledging not to allow Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, to build a nuclear weapon, telling a cabinet meeting on Sunday the situation was at a critical point.
Bennett said he would tell Biden: "This is the time to stop the Iranians, not to give them a lifeline in the form of re-entering an expired nuclear deal."
Ahead of the White House visit, Bennett held talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Austin and with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Bennett.
Austin assured Bennett that the Biden administration is committed to Israel's security and to maintaining its military edge in the region.
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