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Cohen to new US envoy: Israel ‘will not stop or be silent’ until hostages returned

"Israel has no ally more important and no closer friend than the U.S.," Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told U.S. Ambassador to Jerusalem Jack Lew.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with U.S. Ambassador Jack Lew in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with U.S. Ambassador Jack Lew in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Tuesday held his first meeting with newly minted U.S. Ambassador to Jerusalem Jack Lew.

According to an Israeli statement, the two spoke about the ongoing war against Hamas, Iran’s support for terrorism and ways to preserve the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords that normalized the Jewish state’s relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

They also discussed efforts to free more than 240 hostages captured and taken back to the Gaza Strip during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel.

“The unequivocal American solidarity and support moves many in Israel and strengthens us in the fight against the terrorist organization Hamas,” said Cohen on Tuesday.

“The release of all of those held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza is a national priority, along with the elimination of the Hamas regime. We will not stop or be silent until each and every one of the hostages returns safe and sound to their families,” he continued.

“I congratulate my friend, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, and say that Israel has no ally more important and no closer friend than the United States,” he added.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Lew’s nomination last week by a vote of 53-43, with several Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky, voting with Democrats to approve President Joe Biden’s nominee.

Lew presented his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“This past month has tested Israel, and it has proven that the bond between our nations is unshakable,” said Lew, who on Sunday also met with the families of some of the captives, including American citizens.

“The United States stands with you, we will work together, and our resolve remains strong,” the envoy said.

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