Biden in Israel for his first visit as president: “Our commitment to your security”
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Biden in Israel for his first visit as president: “Our commitment to your security”

The head of the White House welcomed in Tel Aviv by Prime Minister Lapid, President Herzog and former Prime Ministers Bennett and Netanyahu. Nobody shakes hands, in anticipation of the stop in Riyadh where he will meet Mohammed bin Salman


AP Photo

US President Joe Biden, following his arrival in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, along with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, visited a number of anti-missile defense systems including Iron Dome and Iron Beam, a new laser defense apparatus designed to take down smaller targets, such as drones, rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles. The head of the White House, who traveled to the Middle Eastern country for the first time as president, then moved to Jerusalem for a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum of the Holocaust. Waiting for him, again Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Meir Lau, President Isaac Herzog and Museum Director Dany Dayan.

“We will continue to support Israel’s greater integration into the region”, confirming “the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security”, although the two-state solution “in my opinion remains the best way to secure the future in equal measure. of freedom, democracy and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians”. These are the central points of Biden’s keynote speech upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, for a visit to the Middle East of high symbolic value, which will also lead him to visit Saudi Arabia, where he will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, the absence of handshakes between the American president and the personalities who came to welcome him was immediately noted: Prime Minister Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Israeli President Isaac Herzog; together with them the government ministers and also the former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. Beyond the official motivation (the anti-Covid protocol), it seems that some have motivated the choice of the head of the White House precisely with the next stage of his Middle Eastern journey, which will lead him to a face to face with the controversial figure of Mohammed bin Salman, considered responsible for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed in the Riyadh consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The American president, criticized for this meeting, is presumed not to shake hands with the regent “in fact “Of the Saudi monarchy; and that would explain the decision not to do it even in Israel.

“You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist,” Biden added among his first statements. The US president then recalled that this is his tenth visit to Israel, albeit the first as president. “It is an honor to still be here among friends,” he said to Israeli President Herzog and the incumbent Prime Minister Lapid. The latter urged Biden on the need to “renew a global coalition to stop the Iranian nuclear problem”. Iran and its allies, President Herzog said for his part, “threaten Israel and endanger the region”. The Israeli head of state then specified that Biden’s trip from Israel to Saudi Arabia is “a journey of peace”. Herzog said he hoped the visit “will help advance an era of prosperity, integration, peace and security for the entire region.”