On the first of a three-day visit to Washington, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made his rounds in Congress on Tuesday, highlighting the Israeli government’s push for bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.
Lapid met with a bipartisan group of U.S. House of Representative members in the early afternoon and held a brief press conference in a Capitol hallway with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Pelosi began by saying that the U.S.-Israeli relationship has always been and remains bipartisan, stemming from mutual values between the two nations and national interests.
She said she was looking forward to meeting Lapid again because her father, who also served in Congress, pushed for the establishment of the Jewish state.
Pelosi said she vividly recalled meeting Lapid two or three years ago when she served as House Minority Leader, and Lapid visited Congress as a member of the Knesset.
Lapid followed Pelosi’s remarks, calling her a great friend of Israel. “… There is a special relationship between our countries, and you are one of the biggest supporters of the concept that says being pro-Israel is being bipartisan,” he said.
He also expressed appreciation to Pelosi for shepherding additional funds for the Iron Dome air-defense system through the House.
“We all need to and can unite around the idea that we want to expand and deepen the circle of peace, and we all need and can unite around the basic principle that Israel has the right to defend itself and the Palestinians deserve a better life,” said Lapid. “And we all can unite around the idea that we will never let Iran become a nuclear threshold country.”
Earlier in the day, the foreign minister met with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; according to Lapid’s Twitter, much of the conversation focused on Iran.
“We discussed a number of security issues—namely, the Iranian threat,” Lapid tweeted. “I shared with him Israel’s concern about Iran’s race towards nuclear capability, and that Iran is becoming a nuclear threshold state.”
Lapid said he also discussed with Sullivan the need for an alternative to the plan by the United States to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal and talked about plans for economic recovery in the Gaza Strip, which he called “Economy for Security,” as well as strengthening the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
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