Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Nevada U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen today will escort Israeli President Isaac Herzog on a tour of the U.S. Capitol and to his address before a joint session of Congress about strengthening bonds between the two nations, her office confirmed Tuesday.
Herzog, who met Tuesday with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office amid strained relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will reportedly talk to lawmakers about furthering democracy and security for Israelis and Palestinians. He will also address Iran’s “destabilizing behavior” and “deepen Israel’s regional integration,” according to NBC.
Rosen, a Democrat, will also help lead a bipartisan panel with Herzog and the other co-chairs of the Senate and House Abraham Accords Caucus, which Rosen co-founded, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and the success of the Abraham Accords. The group advocates for strengthened ties between Israel and Arab nations.
“I am honored to help escort and host President Herzog and to bring together colleagues from across party lines to celebrate 75 years of the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Israel,” Rosen said in a statement to the Sun.
Herzog’s address comes a day after meeting with Biden and discussing Iran’s nuclear capabilities, as well as domestic Israeli affairs and the state of operations for the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Earlier Tuesday, Rosen and three other lawmakers introduced a bicameral resolution urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah’s political arm as a terrorist organization, along with its military.
Herzog’s visit to the White House came a day after Biden spoke with Netanyahu by phone and invited him to meet in the U.S. this fall, although the president expressed reservations about several of the Netanyahu hard-right coalition’s policies. Netanyahu’s government is pushing forward with judicial changes that have sparked widespread protests in Israel, and he has authorized the construction of thousands of new housing units in the West Bank.
Netanyahu and his allies, a collection of ultra-Orthodox and ultranationalist parties, say the judicial plan is needed to rein in the powers of unelected judges. Opponents say the plan will destroy Israel’s fragile system of checks and balances and move the country toward authoritarian rule.
Herzog has appealed for a compromise that has thus far proven elusive. Many American Jewish groups and Democratic lawmakers have expressed concerns about Netanyahu’s plan.
With differences in plain view, Biden sought to stress the importance of the U.S.-Israeli relationship in his brief remarks before reporters Tuesday.
“This is a friendship I believe is just simply unbreakable,” Biden said. “As I confirmed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, America’s commitment to Israel is firm and it is ironclad.”
Herzog’s visit comes weeks after Israeli forces carried out one of their most intensive operations in the West Bank in two decades, with a two-day air and ground offensive in Jenin, a militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank. Senior members of Netanyahu’s government have been pushing for increased construction and other measures to cement Israel’s control over the West Bank in response to a more than yearlong wave of violence with the Palestinians.
U.S. officials have broadly supported Israel’s right to defend itself from militant attacks but have also urged restraint to minimize harm to civilians and have lobbied against additional settlements that would further diminish the chances of securing a two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians.
The Biden administration declined to say whether Biden would host Netanyahu at the White House — as the Israeli leader has hoped — or in New York on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly.
White House visits are typically standard protocol for Israeli prime ministers, and the delay in Netanyahu receiving one has become an issue in Israel, with opponents citing it as a reflection of deteriorating relations with the U.S.
During his U.S. visit, Herzog is also to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional leaders.Today he will become the second Israeli president, after his father, Chaim Herzog, to address Congress.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.