Mar 19, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Netanyahu slated to talk at Senate GOP lunch Wednesday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with the German Chancellor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with the German Chancellor. Photo: Leo Correa/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is tentatively scheduled to speak virtually to Senate Republicans during their regular lunch meeting Wednesday, two Senate sources familiar with the plan tell Axios.

Why it matters: The invitation comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for elections for a new government in Israel and harshly criticized Netanyahu's handling of the threat of Hamas.

  • Punchbowl first reported the news that Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to Republicans.
  • The prime minister was slated to talk with Republicans during their policy retreat last week, but that plan fell through. Both times he has been invited by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the third-ranked Senate Republican.

The big picture: There has been growing tension between President Biden and Netanyahu, over what the prime minister sees as efforts by both the White House and Democrats to weaken him politically, as Axios has reported.

  • Biden assured Netanyahu on a Monday call that he is not trying to undermine him.
  • The two leaders have also laid out contradictory "red lines" about the war in Gaza this month, which could put them on a collision course if Israel invades Rafah in southern Gaza.
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