Addressing reporters on July 20, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said there is “a great love of Israel on both sides of the hall” in the U.S. Congress, “contrary to the impression” in Israel.
Many feel there is a rift between Israel and the Democratic Party in the United States, and many believe that the gulf is widening. But that’s not how the Israeli president sees things, citing the reception he received from across the aisle in Congress as evidence.
In both his speech before Congress, and remarks delivered before and after his July 18 meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, Herzog drew attention to the virtue and vibrancy of Israel’s democracy in the face of heated debate over judicial reform.
An Israeli diplomatic source, who also could not be named, said that although Herzog found Washington to be deeply divided politically, it was more civil than he expected.
Biden told Herzog that he worries about the Israeli government passing judicial reforms unilaterally and that he expressed strong concern about the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, Zenger News was told.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan echoed Biden’s alarm about the P.A., Zenger News has also learned.
While the Israeli government cabinet voted on July 9 to act to prevent the collapse of the P.A., Blinken and Sullivan want to see actions implemented, including needed financial steps, viewing it as neither for or against the Palestinians but as an Israeli security interest, Zenger News was told.
Zenger News was further told that the Biden administration exerted no pressure on Herzog for Israel to increase aid to Ukraine.
While the administration still largely supports advancing the Abraham Accords, its officials did not go into detail with Herzog about a road forward for normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Zenger News was told.
Additionally, Zenger News was told that U.S. officials referred often in every conversation about the Abraham Accords to the resumption of the twice-postponed Negev Forum and the needs of Palestinians, who refuse to participate in the multilateral talks.
Zenger News learned that Herzog protested Guterres’s statement on July 20 and explained, one by one, why the U.N. leader’s claims were untrue.
Leaving the world body’s headquarters, Zenger News asked Herzog how the meeting went.
He smiled and sighed, and said using the Hebrew abbreviation for the United Nations, “It’s OoM”—in other words, it is what it is.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate