Israeli President Isaac Herzog received the credentials of newly appointed U.S. ambassador Thomas Nides on Sunday, at an official ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“The people of Israel welcome you with open arms and an open heart,” Herzog said to Nides. “For us, this is a celebration of a shared vision and common values: liberty and equality, freedom, human rights and friendship with our closest ally.”

Alluding indirectly to his late father, Chaim—both a former Israeli president and ambassador to the United Nations—Herzog said, “My family has been engaged and involved with more than 14 successive American presidents. Growing up in the United States, I was strongly influenced by the spirit of the Constitution, by its social diversity and by the great tradition of your democracy.”

Referring outright to another family member, the Israeli president went on: “I must add how touched we were by [U.S.] President [Joe] Biden’s warm remarks at the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on Thursday at the White House, as he graciously welcomed Israel’s new ambassador to the United States, my dear brother, Mike Herzog.”

Herzog also expressed his gratitude for President Joe Biden’s “tireless support and uncompromising commitment” to the “ironclad relations” between the two countries.

The Israeli president then raised the issue of the “common threat posed by Iran,” which he called the “greatest challenge” faced by the two countries.

“We are closely following the international community’s recent negotiations with [the Islamic Republic, and] will welcome a comprehensive, diplomatic solution [that] permanently solves the Iranian nuclear threat.”

However, he stated, “in the case of a failure to achieve such a solution, Israel is keeping all options on the table, and … if the international community does not take a vigorous stance on this issue, Israel will do so; Israel will protect itself.”


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