update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Lapid in Washington for high-level talks

The one-day visit will include meetings with senior Biden administration officials.

Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid at the Jerusalem District Court, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid at the Jerusalem District Court, June 12, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid arrived in Washington on Tuesday for meetings with senior U.S. officials, his office said.

The Yesh Atid Party chief, who served as interim prime minister and as foreign minister in the previous government, is scheduled to meet with Biden administration officials, members of Congress and Jewish community leaders before heading back to Israel on Tuesday night.

His office did not name the senior government officials with whom he will hold talks.

During the meetings, U.S. officials intend to bring up the normalization process with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has requested American help for a civilian nuclear program in exchange for ties with Israel, a demand that Lapid has publicly opposed.

“I am very much in favor of a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia,” he said during a television interview last month, before adding, “But not at the expense of uranium enrichment that would endanger Israel’s security.”

Lapid’s visit comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been snubbed, so far denied a traditional White House visit. On July 17, more than six months after Netanyahu returned to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, President Joe Biden invited Netanyahu for a meeting “somewhere in the United States” at some time “later this year.”

Netanyahu is expected to fly to New York for the U.N. General Assembly general debate this month, during which he may meet with Biden in the city, although neither side has confirmed details.

“The details are going to be worked out by the different teams,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told journalists in July. “But they have committed to meeting and seeing each other.”

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