JERUSALEM — President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday to open a four-day Middle East visit that can give attention to making an attempt to decelerate Iran’s nuclear program, getting oil to American fuel pumps and enhancing relations with Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 50 years after making his first journey to Israel as a newly elected senator, Mr. Biden returned for the primary time as president and wasted no time searching for to reaffirm his steadfast assist for the Jewish state regardless of friction over his efforts to negotiate a new nuclear agreement with Iran.
“Every chance to return to this great country where the ancient roots of the Jewish people date back to biblical times is a blessing, because the connection between the Israeli people and the American people is bone deep,” Mr. Biden mentioned throughout a short arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport. “Generation after generation, that connection grows.”
Mr. Biden, who famous as he usually does that he has recognized each Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, whom he met on his first journey in 1973, was making his tenth go to to Israel and appeared intent on dispelling the notion that he’s any much less supportive of the nation than his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, who made his backing for Israel a cornerstone of his international coverage.
“Our relationship is deeper in my view than it’s ever been,” Mr. Biden mentioned.
Greeting him as he disembarked from Air Force One, Israeli leaders echoed the sentiment, emphasizing that they considered Mr. Biden as a good friend and making little notice of their variations. President Isaac Herzog known as him “our brother Joseph,” declaring, “You are truly amongst family.” The nation’s interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, known as him “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.”
“It is a very personal visit,” Mr. Lapid mentioned, “because your relationship with Israel has always been very personal. You once defined yourself as a Zionist. You said that you don’t have to be a Jew in order to be a Zionist. And you were right.”
Without dwelling on it, Mr. Lapid confirmed that the 2 leaders would talk about Iran and their joint efforts to boost cooperation amongst Middle Eastern nations. Once remoted within the area, Israel is more and more concerned in regional diplomacy, after landmark diplomatic deals with three Arab countries in 2020 — and officers hope that additional progress shall be made throughout Mr. Biden’s go to.
Mr. Biden likewise touched on one other space of potential pressure, restating his assist for a two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle after criticism that his administration has not prioritized the problem.
“We’ll discuss my continued support, even though I know it’s not in a new term, for a two-state solution that remains in my view the best way to ensure the future of equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Mr. Biden mentioned.
Before his arrival, the Israeli authorities had made a number of small gestures to the Palestinians, together with granting some new work permits for Gazans. But whereas Mr. Biden will go to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem, restoring communications that had been minimize off in the course of the Trump presidency, there are few expectations that the go to will deliver progress in resolving the dispute.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, minimize a peripheral determine on the welcoming ceremony. Now out of workplace, he’s the chief of the opposition and may have solely a short assembly with the president on Thursday.
But he and Mr. Biden have a heat if usually fraught relationship that goes again 4 many years, and the American chief made a degree of searching for out Mr. Netanyahu throughout a gaggle picture for Israeli and U.S. officers. Mr. Biden gave Mr. Netanyahu an extended, heat handclasp, and each males looked like being joyful to see one another.
The president’s journey comes at a fragile second in Israeli politics. A fragile governing coalition recently collapsed, leaving Mr. Lapid serving as a caretaker prime minister till November elections during which Mr. Netanyahu hopes to make a comeback.
At the top of the reception ceremony, Mr. Lapid joked about his and Mr. Biden’s respective trajectories since an earlier assembly between the 2 in Washington.
He advised Mr. Biden: “I don’t know if you remember, but eight years ago we met at the White House when you were vice president. You said to me, ‘If only I had hair like yours, I would be president,’ to which I answered, ‘And if only I had your height, I would be prime minister.’”