Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in the US on his first state visit overseas since taking office, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.
At the start of his meeting with Blinken, Bennett said he planned to speak with Biden and administration officials primarily about “how do we fend off and curtail Iran’s … race to a nuclear weapon.”
The two also discussed Israel’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program, the fight against the coronavirus, economic issues and climate change.
ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט, בפתח פגישתו עם מזכיר המדינה האמריקני אנתוני בלינקן:
"אני מעריך את זה שאתם מארחים אותנו כאן בימים עמוסים אלו.
זה אומר הרבה. לישראל אין בת ברית חזקה ואמינה יותר מאשר ארה"ב. " pic.twitter.com/JbXNcirUST
— ראש ממשלת ישראל (@IsraeliPM_heb) August 25, 2021
They “agreed on the importance of working toward Israel’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program in order to benefit both U.S. citizens and Israeli citizens,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
There are currently 49 countries included in the Visa Waiver Program
Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan said he is “happy about the significant advances on the way to getting a visa waiver for Israelis going to the US, a move that I led in recent months as ambassador to the US, because there is no reason Israeli citizens should have to waste time and money to enter the US.”
Bennett also met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who told the Israeli prime minister that “the administration remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense. That is unwavering. It is steadfast, and it is ironclad.”
“You can also see that commitment as we advocate for the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The administration is committed to ensuring that Iron Dome can defend Israeli civilian population centers targeted by terrorist attacks. We are working closely with Congress to provide all the necessary information to respond positively to your request for $1 billion in emergency funding, and it’s going to save more innocent lives.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)