White House says Netanyahu visit will happen 'at some point'

National security spokesperson John Kirby responds to McCarthy saying he would invite Netanyahu to Congress; almost six months out from PM's election victory, he has yet to receive customary invitation from Biden
Daniel Edelson, New York|Updated:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House "at some point," a spokesperson said on Monday in response to comments by U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy urging President Joe Biden to extend the traditional invitation to the Israeli leader.
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"Israeli leaders have a long tradition of visiting Washington. President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known each other for a long, long time. I expect the prime minister will visit at some point," White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters in response to a question from the press about McCarthy's remarks.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
(Photo: Yonatan Sindel, EPA)
It is customary for U.S. presidents to invite elected Israeli prime ministers for a congenial meeting at the executive mansion, but almost six months out from Netanyahu's election victory, he has yet to receive the coveted invitation.
McCarthy, who is on a visit to Israel, said earlier Monday that if Biden fails to invite Netanyahu to the White House, he would invite him to Congress.
Biden has so far abstained from inviting Netanyahu in part due to his government's highly controversial judicial reform, as well as incendiary statements made by members of his far-right Cabinet that drew criticism from Washington.
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בנימין נתניהו נואם במליאת הכנסת
בנימין נתניהו נואם במליאת הכנסת
McCarthy in Knesset
(Photo: AFP)
The Democratic president urged Netanyahu and his hard-right allies to suspend their to curb the judiciary in order to seek a broad consensus.
"Israel can't continue down this road," Biden told the press in March, adding that he hopes Netanyahu "walks away from it."
The Israeli leader quickly issued a statement in response, saying that "Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends."
During Monday's press conference, Kirby clarified that the White House's position on changes to the judiciary in Israel remains unchanged, and they expect the Israeli government to reach a broad consensus and maintain checks and balances.
First published: 23:12, 05.01.23
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