The collapse of the Israeli government will force President Biden to navigate a delicate balancing act during his next visit to Israel, which will take place three months before a snap election.
The big picture: The survival of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, which ousted former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was the Biden administration’s top priority when it comes to its Israel policy.
Driving the news: Over the past year, Biden has worked closely with Bennett, including hosting him at the White House. But when the US president arrives in Israel on July 13, he will be greeted by acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
- Lapid will likely try to use the many hours of live Israeli media coverage during the visit as a campaign boost.
The other side: A senior US official said Biden is also likely to meet with Netanyahu, Lapid’s main political rival and opposition leader.
- Both politicians go back 40 years and have had their ups and downs. The announcement of new settlements in East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel in March 2010 created a crisis between the two leaders.
- Biden waited a month after taking office to call Netanyahu for the first time as president.
What they say : Biden told reporters Tuesday there were no changes to his plans to visit Israel.
- Earlier on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Lapid and Bennett to discuss the political situation in Israel and reassure them that Biden’s visit is going as planned, US officials said. and Israelis.
- Blinken “underscored our respect for democratic processes and reiterated our unwavering commitment to the strong strategic relationship between the United States and Israel,” as well as the two countries “pursuing close coordination on regional and global issues,” added State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Between the lines: Many US presidents have interfered in Israeli elections in one way or another, but Biden will likely try to avoid that perception, making the visit more of a highlight of good relations with the Israeli people than of a specific government, according to US officials.
- To note: Although Bennett is no longer prime minister, Israeli officials say he will likely meet Biden and join Lapid in some of the visit’s events.
What to watch: Lapid is expected to travel to New York in September – a month before Israel’s election – for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, where he will likely try to secure another meeting with Biden on the sidelines.