Scoop: Israeli officials to visit White House to prepare for Biden-Bennett meeting
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s foreign policy advisers will travel to Washington next week to begin preparations for a planned meeting between the new Israeli leader and President Biden. The meeting is expected to take place later in August, Israeli officials say.
Why it matters: These will be the first face-to-face meetings between advisers to the two leaders since Bennett took office in June. All previous discussions were held over the phone or by video conference.
Driving the news: Bennett’s foreign policy adviser and point person for relations with the White House, Shimrit Meir, will arrive in Washington on Monday along with Eyal Hulata, Bennett's new national security adviser and a former official in the Mossad spy agency.
- Israeli officials say the two are expected to meet with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Biden’s top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk.
Between the lines: The Biden administration is making significant efforts to help stabilize the new Israeli government, which is an unwieldy coalition of parties that share little except for their opposition to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- For example, the administration has elected to delay the reopening of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem — a politically charged issue in Israel — until after Bennett's government manages to pass a budget.
What’s next: The meetings are meant for introduction as well as setting a final date for the first Oval Office meeting between Biden and Bennett. Israeli officials say the meeting could take place during the second half of August.