U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden
Photo: Reuters
Antony Blinken and Naftali Bennett

Blinken, Bennett speak ahead of Israeli transition of power

U.S. Secretary of State confirms Biden visit to proceed as planned despite political turmoil in Israel; State Department spokesperson says ties with Israel do not depend on who is in the White House

Itamar Eichner, AFP |
Published: 06.22.22, 08:36
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and assured him that he would support Yair Lapid as interim prime minister, the Prime Minister's Office said on Wednesday.
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  • Blinken thanked Bennett for his actions to strengthen U.S.–Israel relations during his year in office and informed him he would continue to cooperate with him on matters of Iran.
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    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט במסיבת עיתונאים עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן
    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט במסיבת עיתונאים עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן
    Antony Blinken and Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: AFP)
    On Tuesday, Blinken confirmed to Lapid that U.S. President Joe Biden still plans to visit Israel next month
    Blinken "underscored our respect for democratic processes and reiterated our unwavering commitment to the strong U.S.-Israel strategic relationship," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
    "Blinken emphasized our continuing close coordination on regional and global issues," he said.
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    U.S. President Joe Biden
    U.S. President Joe Biden
    U.S. President Joe Biden
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Price earlier told reporters: "The strength of our relationship does not depend on who sits in the Oval Office. It doesn't depend on who sits in the prime minister's chair in Israel."
    The snap election could see a comeback bid by Benjamin Netanyahu, the veteran right-wing politician who had a tense relationship with former U.S. president Barack Obama, under whom Biden was vice president.
    The coalition government led by the right-wing Naftali Bennett and centrist Lapid had sought to tone down and depoliticize Israel's relations with the United States, Israel's crucial ally.
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    הבית הלבן פגישה בנימין נתניהו ו דונלנד טראמפ נשיא ארצות הברית
    הבית הלבן פגישה בנימין נתניהו ו דונלנד טראמפ נשיא ארצות הברית
    Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    Netanyahu had rallied behind the U.S. Republican Party, especially in its hawkish line on Iran and opposition to a nuclear deal with Tehran negotiated under Obama.
    Netanyahu's stance and Israel's rightward turn in handling the Palestinian issue have alienated left-leaning members of Biden's Democratic Party, which historically supported Israel.


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