Boarding a plane back to Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said that his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House "achieved all the goals we have out for ourselves and beyond."
"Biden and I have stroke up a direct and personal bond built on trust," the prime minister said. "We have achieved all the goals we have set out for ourselves and beyond."
Bennett said that both leaders agreed on a joint strategic work plan to impede Iran's attempts to obtain nuclear arms.
The Israeli leader also cited "significant advancement" vis-a-vis Israel's security and placing the Jewish state on the U.S. visa waiver list, which he said Biden ordered to settle "as soon as possible."
Commenting on the IDF airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight Saturday following Palestinian protests on the border fence and the launch of several arson balloons, Bennett remarked that Israel will continue to act "according to its own interests," adding that Jerusalem considers Hamas responsible for any escalation in violence along the southern frontier.
During their Friday meeting in Washington, Biden told Bennett he would like to pursue a diplomatic approach with the Iranians first, but if that fails, "then we've got other options," he said.
Following the meeting, the two gave a short, joint statement to the press. Opening his remarks, Biden said that he and Bennett have become "close friends" since the premier's arrival in Washington.
"He heads and leads the most diverse government in Israeli history,” Biden said while addressing the prime minister.
In regards to Iran's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. leader told reporters the Islamic Republic will "never" obtain an atomic bomb.
Since Biden took office, the U.S. has been holding talks with Tehran to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or as it is commonly known the Iran nuclear deal, a move that has faced criticism from Israeli officials. Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018.
Biden thanked Israel for its "unshakable support" and reiterated that The United States' commitment to Israel's security is unbreakable.
Bennett, for his part, expressed his deepest condolences over last week's attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul, which left 13 U.S. soldiers and dozens of Afghans dead, and said that Israel was grieving with the U.S.
Alluding to Afghanistan, the prime minister added that Israel will "never outsource its security" to the U.S. but thanked the Biden administration for providing military support to the Jewish state, primarily the replenishment of Iron Dome batteries.
Bennett also said that Israel has never had a "better and more reliable" partner than the United States. “You’ve always stood beside us, especially in tough times,” he said.
The two sides played down the Palestinian issue in an apparent attempt to avoid any public friction at this early stage of their relationship. Given the poor prospects for progress in diplomatic talks with the Palestinians, both men appeared to be more interested in shoring up the new Israeli government's standing in their first in-person talks.