(March 5, 2018 / JNS) In their first meeting since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lavished praise on the American leader, saying that his decision will be one to remember “through the ages.”
“We remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people through the ages,” Netanyahu told Trump at a meeting in the White House, comparing him to past gentile leaders—from Cyrus the Great to President Harry Truman—who have had a major impact on the Jewish people.
“I’ve been here for nearly four decades seeking to build the American-Israel alliance. Under your leadership, it’s never been stronger,” said Netanyahu.
At the same time, the meeting comes just after the United States announced it will open its embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations. President Trump said he is looking into attending the opening of the embassy.
“I may. I may,” he said. “We’re looking at coming. If I can, I will.”
Trump also spoke about when his administration’s Middle East peace plan would be released, which has been under wraps for several months.
“We’re going to see. We’re working on it very hard. I think we have a very good chance,” he said. “The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table. If they don’t, you won’t have peace.”
Netanyahu also addressed the Iranian threat, saying it is the “greatest challenge in the Middle East.”
“Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions,” he said. “It came out of this nuclear deal emboldened, enriched. It’s practicing aggression everywhere, including on our own borders. And I think we have to stop this country that chants, ‘Death to Israel, death to America.’ Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge.”
But he added that because of Iran, it is also important to “exploit the opportunities for peace” with the Palestinians.
“Because the Arabs have never been closer to Israel,” he said, and “Israel has never been closer to the Arabs. And we seek also to broaden that peace to the Palestinians.”