JERUSALEM — Prior to Israel’s ceremonial President Isaac Herzog’s planned speech to Congress on Wednesday, and in the face of mounting pressure from Republicans to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the U.S. for a meeting, President Biden on Monday reached out to the Israeli leader to solidify a get-together this year.
Herzog, who will deliver his congressional address as part of Israel celebrating the rebirth of its country 75-years-ago, told Biden on Tuesday ‘I was pleased to hear about your conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, which focused on our ironclad military and security cooperation. Because there are some enemies of ours that sometimes mistake the fact that we may have some differences, as impacting our unbreakable bond. I truly believe that if they would know how much our cooperation has grown in recent years and achieved new heights, they would not think that way.’
Biden told Herzog that he conveyed to Netanyahu that ‘America’s commitment to Israel is firm and it is ironclad.’
Biden’s alleged interference in Israeli domestic affairs has been a source of acute anger among some in the Jewish state and several Republican politicians and candidates running for president.
In an interview with Fox News Digital on Tuesday, Caroline Glick, a prominent American Israeli commentator, said, ‘The Biden administration is siding with the opposition and against the democratically elected government’ over Netanyahu’s efforts to reform the judiciary.
Glick said Biden has inserted himself into Israeli domestic political fights over the legal reform process like no U.S. administration before and ‘That is why Israelis in general and, not just the government, are very, very angry at the Biden administration.’ She termed the Biden administration policy toward Israel as ‘totally hostile to more than half of the country’ in the Jewish state.
Israel’s government is seeking to rope in the power of the judiciary while critics argue that the legal reform process will weaken the system of checks and balances in the Middle East’s only democracy.
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After Democratic progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington called Israel a ‘racist state’ over the weekend, Glick said the ‘Democrats are under the ideological control of this progressive wing and are walking away from Israel as a party.’ Glick took Jayapal and her fellow progressive congressional ‘Squad’ members to task because, she claimed, their ‘progressive wing has mainstreamed contemporary antisemitism.’
Fox News Digital reported that more than 40 House Democrats slammed Jayapal in a public letter on Monday, declaring ‘Israel is the legitimate homeland of the Jewish people and efforts to delegitimize and demonize it are not only dangerous and antisemitic, but they also undermine America’s national security.’
Yaakov Katz, the author of ‘Shadow Strike: Inside Israel’s Secret Mission to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power’ and former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, told Fox News Digital with respect to Herzog’s invitation to Washington that ‘On the one hand, the visit is a clear illustration of the intimate and strategic relationship between Israel and the U.S. On the other hand, it is hard to ignore the fact that President Herzog has been invited to meet Biden and only on the eve of Herzog’s trip did Biden call and invite Netanyahu.’
Katz continued, ‘This is in line with Biden’s approach to the Israeli government which he called the most extreme in Israeli history. Netanyahu has until now not been welcome in Washington and even in their call Biden made clear that he disapproves of the judicial reform. The relations between the two leaders are not good at the moment.’
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Ariel Kahana, a senior diplomatic commentator for Israel’s most read Hebrew-language daily newspaper, the Israel Hayom, told Fox News Digital regarding Biden’s Israel’s policies that the Israeli ‘government is certainly not satisfied with those policies. Those conversations they had (Monday) night by phone definitely made the atmosphere better, including the invitation Netanyahu got to visit Biden.’
Kahana expressed cautious optimism about improved relations between the U.S. and Israel. He said while there are ‘gaps’ in policy between the two allies, Kahana added that ‘The boycott has ended’ with respect to Biden snubbing Netanyahu.
Biden’s alleged hostility toward the Jewish state’s government triggered outrage from Republican politicians running for president on Monday at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) annual summit in Arlington, Virginia.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday told attendees at CUFI, ‘I think we’re in dire need of repairing the U.S.-Israel relationship,’ calling the Biden administration’s policies towards Israel ‘disgraceful.’
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and presidential candidate Nikki Haley said during her speech to CUFI, ‘From day one, Joe Biden has weakened America and failed to stand by Israel. America is in global retreat. Israel is in greater danger. It doesn’t have to be like this. And we can’t afford four more years of weakness – or even a year and a half. We need a pro-Israel president – whoever she may be.’
The former South Carolina governor brought up Iran in her speech noting that, ‘Many believe Iran is only months or even weeks away from having the capability to get a nuclear bomb. But the Biden administration has done absolutely nothing. Actually, that’s a little unfair. Biden hasn’t done nothing. He’s given Iran exactly what it wants. The president waived sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program.’
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department previously told Fox News Digital, ‘As the president has made clear, the United States is committed to never allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. We believe diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal, but President Biden has also been clear that we have not removed any option from the table.’
White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said last week that Biden and Herzog ‘will also discuss Russia’s deepening military relationship with Iran, and Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.’
Israeli commentators noted that Herzog will likely mention Iran’s reported nuclear weapons program in his speech to Congress and how it endangers security in the region.
When asked what Netanyahu aims to achieve during Herzog’s visit in conjunction with the prime minister’s view of a Fox News Digital report about the Biden administration using an antiquated definition of Iran’s atomic program, a spokesman for Netanyahu told Fox News Digital, ‘The prime minister’s position on Iran has been steady and unchanged.’
In June, Netanyahu responded to reports that the Biden administration was inching toward a deal with Iran’s regime to release at least $17 billion in sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for temporary restrictions on the Islamic republic’s alleged atomic weapons program.
Israeli governments have consistently viewed Iran’s reported nuclear weapons program as an existential threat to the Jewish nation. Israel maintains a policy called the Begin Doctrine (name after former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin) to bar countries that are hostile to Israel from constructing nuclear weapons with military capability.
Israel’s air force destroyed nuclear reactors in 1981 in Iraq and in 2007 in Syria to stop its enemies’ nuclear weapons ambitions.
Fox News’ Peter Petroff contributed to this report.