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Netanyahu to tour Silicon Valley ahead of UN speech

No meetings with U.S. officials are scheduled during the Israeli premier's visit, and it remains unclear whether he will meet with the U.S. president on the sidelines of the UNGA.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sept. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sept. 10, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit San Francisco next week ahead of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Sunday.

Netanyahu will depart Israel on the evening of Sept. 17 following the conclusion of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and land in San Francisco the next day.

While in California, Netanyahu is expected to visit Silicon Valley for a tour of the tech industry, according to local reports. Netanyahu may also meet with X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

The Israeli prime minister stressed to Musk during a telephone conversation in June the need for governments to understand both the opportunities and the dangers of artificial intelligence, and conveyed his view that the Jewish state could become a significant global player in the field.

After spending the day in Silicon Valley, the prime minister will travel to New York City, arriving there on Sept. 19.

In the Big Apple, Netanyahu is slated to address the U.N. General Assembly, with his speech likely to take place on Friday morning. Netanyahu will remain in New York over Saturday, flying back shortly before the start of Yom Kippur on the evening of Sept. 24.

The planned visit would be Netanyahu’s first official trip to the United States since being voted back into office on Nov. 1, 2022.

A spokesperson for the premier told AFP there were no meetings scheduled with American officials during the weeklong visit. However, Hebrew media reported Netanyahu might meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the UNGA.

On July 17, more than six months after Netanyahu returned to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, U.S. President Joe Biden invited Netanyahu for a meeting “somewhere in the United States” at some time “later this year.”

It remains unclear whether the long-expected meeting will take place at the White House, with neither side confirming 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.”

Meanwhile, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid flew to Washington last week for discussions with U.S. officials. Among other meetings, Lapid sat down with Amos Hochstein, special presidential coordinator for global infrastructure and energy security, and Brett McGurk, who serves as national security council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

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