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Friday, December 03, 2021
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Discusses Iran threat in meeting with NSA's Jake Sullivan.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited the U.S. this week, meeting with congressional leaders and other government officials to discuss issues including the Israeli government’s push for bipartisan support for Israel and the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Lapid met with a bipartisan group of U.S. House of Representative members and held a brief press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has always been and remains bipartisan, stemming from mutual values between the two nations and national interests.

She said she was looking forward to meeting Lapid again because her father, who also served in Congress, pushed for the establishment of the Jewish state.

Pelosi said she vividly recalled meeting Lapid two or three years ago when she served as House Minority Leader, and Lapid visited Congress as a member of the Knesset.

Lapid followed Pelosi’s remarks, calling her a great friend of Israel. “… There is a special relationship between our countries, and you are one of the biggest supporters of the concept that says being pro-Israel is being bipartisan,” he said.

He also expressed appreciation to Pelosi for shepherding additional funds for the Iron Dome air-defense system through the House.

“We all need to and can unite around the idea that we want to expand and deepen the circle of peace, and we all need and can unite around the basic principle that Israel has the right to defend itself and the Palestinians deserve a better life,” said Lapid. “And we all can unite around the idea that we will never let Iran become a nuclear threshold country.”

The foreign minister also met with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan; according to Lapid’s Twitter, much of the conversation focused on Iran.

“We discussed a number of security issues—namely, the Iranian threat,” Lapid tweeted. “I shared with him Israel’s concern about Iran’s race toward nuclear capability, and that Iran is becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

Lapid said he also discussed with Sullivan the need for an alternative to the plan by the United States to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal and talked about plans for economic recovery in the Gaza Strip, which he called “Economy for Security,” as well as strengthening the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

According to a readout from the White House, Sullivan also reaffirmed the Biden administration’s commitment that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon.

“The officials agreed that the United States and Israel will continue to consult closely on Iran and other critical matters impacting the security and stability of the region,” it read.

The two also discussed “deepening Israel’s relationships with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. They agreed that the United States and Israel would continue to work closely together to strengthen and expand peaceful relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world.”

Lapid also met with Vice President Kamala Harris, where he once again focused on Iran and strengthening bipartisan support for Israel.

“I’m happy to be here with one of the best friends Israel has in Washington—a leader that’s been next to us in all the important struggles, and we can always count on—we could always count on you in the difficult moments,” Lapid told the vice president.

“It’s true that the center of my visit is the Iranian nuclear program, but it deals with one more thing, which is strengthening the bipartisan relation with the next generation of young Americans,” he said, noting that the younger generation “is not only preoccupied with wars and conflict, but also with the climate crisis, the global immigration crisis and questions of identity.”

“And in order to build a strategy for the next hundred years, we need to explore together those issues and to shape together a new world, new global architecture.”

Harris said that they would focus on “the issue of peace, security and prosperity for Palestinians as well as Israelis, and, of course, the regional challenges that we face and our shared concern as it relates to Iran and as it relates to our support for the Abraham Accords.”

By Dmitriy Shapiro/JNS.org

 

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