New Israeli Prime Minister seeks to improve relations with the United States.
The talks, originally scheduled for Thursday and postponed to Friday because of the terrorist attack in Kabul, which killed 13 American soldiers and 72 Afghans, are designed to change the tone of U.S.-Israeli relations and settle sharp differences between Washington and Jerusalem over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.
Tensions arose many years ago in relations between Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was closer to former President Donald Trump, and the former Democratic administration led by Barack Obama and Biden as vice president.
Biden’s first meeting with Bennett was overshadowed by the terrorist attack in Afghanistan, which complicated the already worst crisis since the beginning of Biden’s presidency.
“The mission is there… it is dangerous, and now it has led to significant losses among American personnel, but it is a worthy mission … We will complete this mission,” Biden said, addressing reporters after a one-on-one conversation with Bennett.
On Friday, the U.S. military, which is helping to evacuate people from Afghanistan, announced the threat of new attacks.
In a brief speech to the press, the two leaders touched on the problem of Iran, one of the most acute problems that have arisen between the Biden administration and Israel.
Biden said he and Bennett discussed “the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”
“We put diplomacy first; we will see where this leads us. But if it is not possible to solve the problem by diplomatic methods, we are ready to turn to other options,” Biden added, without going into details.
Bennett, a far-right politician who came to power after Netanyahu’s 12-year rule, was going to pressure Biden to toughen his approach to Iran and abandon negotiations to resuming the nuclear deal with Tehran, which Trump refused.
Biden was going to tell Bennett that he shares Israel’s concern about the Iranian nuclear program but would like to try to implement diplomatic ways to resolve the issue before considering other options, a senior administration official said earlier, even though negotiations between the United States and Iran are still at an impasse.
Bennett told reporters that he agrees with Biden about having “other options” if the U.S. talks with Iran fail.
The new Israeli prime minister tried to move away from Netanyahu’s aggressive rhetoric and instead settle the differences that have arisen between Washington and its closest ally in the Middle East. However, Bennett was as adamant as Netanyahu, promising to do everything necessary to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of Tehran. Iran denies accusations of developing nuclear weapons.