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Netanyahu meets with McCarthy in Jerusalem

The Israeli premier and U.S. House speaker met one-on-one and then with American lawmakers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Jerusalem, Israel, May 1, 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Jerusalem, Israel, May 1, 2023. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday in Jerusalem.

The two held a tête-à-tête and then an expanded meeting as part of a working lunch with a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation.

“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. There’s only two countries in the world that were conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are equal,” noted McCarthy.

“And as we continue to grow that, I think the world will be safer, be stronger and our children will have a much beautiful world in the future. The world is better when America and Israel are tighter,” he added.

McCarthy late last month expressed his backing for the Netanyahu government amid an ongoing national debate in Israel over the judicial reform initiative.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu is an Israeli patriot, statesman and most importantly, a great friend of the United States,” McCarthy wrote. “Free societies have vigorous and open debate. Israel is no exception.

“I support Netanyahu, and America’s support for Israel’s strong, vibrant democracy is unwavering,” he added.

McCarthy also met with President Isaac Herzog, who hailed Jerusalem-Washington ties.

“Today, we are an amazing, thriving country, and our relationship with the United States runs in our DNA—America is a very close ally of ours. We are pleased with full integration in the region as a result of the Abraham Accords, which came after peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt,” said the Israeli president.

“On the other hand, there is a great enemy threatening us not far from here. Half an hour in any direction from here is an enemy state, and we believe that the alliance with America is of great importance,” he added.

The Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords normalized the Jewish state’s relations with four Arab nations.

McCarthy arrived on Sunday at the head of a 20-member delegation of Republican and Democrat lawmakers, and immediately traveled to the Western Wall in the Israeli capital.

“Israel, you are a blessed nation,” McCarthy wrote in the holy site’s visitor book, adding: “Our shared values unite a bond that will never break.”

The U.S. delegation earlier Monday visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Center, accompanied by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana.

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (second left) lays wreaths in the Hall of Remembrance at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, May 1, 2023. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS.

McCarthy is scheduled to address the Israeli parliament as it opens its summer session later in the afternoon. The only other U.S. House speaker to address the Knesset was Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich in 1998.

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