U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Reuven Rivlin at the White House on Monday as the latter made his final foreign trip as president of the State of Israel, telling him Iran will never get a nuclear weapon "on his watch".
"What I can say to you is that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch," Biden said.
The two were to hold a broad discussion about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and Israel's formation of a new government.
The meeting took place just weeks after Naftali Bennett replaced Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, ending his 12-year rule. U.S. officials were reportedly working on setting up a meeting between Biden and Bennett in the coming weeks.
In a meeting on Monday with Rivlin, Biden said he looks forward to meeting with new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett soon.
Israel and Arab states have expressed concern about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal due to fears that it may eventually allow Tehran to acquire atomic weapons.
Biden told Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same values of democracy and U.S. support for Israel is "iron clad".
The two leaders were also expected to discuss Israel's 11-day war with Gaza last month. The U.S. has pledged to resupply Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, which protected Israeli civilians from the more than 4,000 rockets fired from Gaza during last month's conflict.
Rivlin was also to meet officials at the United Nations in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.
Meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in New York on Sunday, Rivlin said he understands he and Biden may have their differences but also share similar views for example on the need to fight anti-Semitism.
“We must fight anti-Semitism in all forms and use all tools at our disposal. I know that President Biden and his administration are committed to combating this growing hate, and I promise you that the state of Israel will always stand in the forefront against antisemitism, in the U.S. and all over the world,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin is to leave office on July 7 after a seven-year term, with Jewish Agency chair and former Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog taking over as president.
First published: 23:01, 06.28.21