update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Herzog declares Biden ‘great friend’ of Israel amid weapons cutoff

Earlier Thursday, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said that the Hamas terrorist group loves Biden.

Israel's President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greet U.S. President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli President's Spokesperson's Unit.
Israel's President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greet U.S. President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli President's Spokesperson's Unit.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed gratitude on Thursday to the United States and his American counterpart Joe Biden, amid a torrent of condemnation from Jerusalem over Washington’s decision to withhold arms from the Jewish state.

“This is a notable opportunity to thank the State of Israel’s allies also today, and especially to our greatest ally the United States of America,” Herzog said at a state ceremony commemorating the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany.

“I would like to say thank you to President Biden, who is a great friend of the State of Israel, and who proved as such from the first day of the war. In the context of this morning’s news, it is important for me to say that even when there are disagreements and moments of disappointment between friends and allies, there is a way to clarify the disputes, and it is beholden upon all of us to avoid baseless, irresponsible and insulting statements and tweets that harm the national security and the interests of the State of Israel,” Herzog added.

Earlier Thursday, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said that the Hamas terrorist group loves Biden.

Speaking with CNN on Wednesday evening, Biden said, “If they [the Israel Defense Forces] go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem.”

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are demanding answers from the Biden administration on delayed weapons shipments to Israel during its war against Hamas in Gaza.

The two Republicans sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday, writing that they were “alarmed” by the postponement, which Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin confirmed to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on the same day.

“Israel faces an existential and multi-front threat as recently demonstrated by the direct attack by Iran and Iranian-backed terrorists, and daylight between the United States and Israel at this dangerous time risks emboldening Israel’s enemies and undermining the trust that other allies and partners have in the United States,” they wrote.

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