US President Joe Biden’s remarks on arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, July 13, 2022, on his first visit as president.
President Herzog, Mr. Prime Minister Lapid, it’s an honor to once again stand with friends, and visit the independent Jewish State of Israel.
President Nixon was the first American president to visit Israel in 1974. I was actually – my first visit was, as you mentioned, as a young United States Senator from Delaware, in 1973, just a few weeks before the Yom Kippur War.
I had the privilege of spending time with Prime Minister Golda Meir. I’ll never forget, I was sitting next to a gentleman on my right, one of her aides. His name was Rabin. I look back on it all now and I realize that I had the great honor of living part of the great history of this country.
And I say again, you need not be Jew to be a Zionist.
The fact is that since then I’ve known every single prime minister, and it’s been an honor. I’ve formed strong working relationships with each of them, and now, this is my 10th visit.
Every chance to return to this great country where the ancient roots of the Jewish People date back to biblical times, is a blessing. Because the connection between the Israeli people and the American people is bone deep, it’s bone deep.
Generation after generation that connection grows. We invest in each other. We dream together. We’re part of what has always been the objective we both had.
I’ve been part of that as a Senator, as a Vice President, and quite frankly, before that, having been raised by a righteous Christian, when we had dinner at our table every night before he went back to work. It was a place where we had conversation, and incidentally, ate.
And I remember he taught us all about what happened in the Holocaust – why weren’t the tracks bombed, why did we not – why why, why? He imbued in us a sense of obligation that we all have.
And now as president, I’m proud to say that our relationship with the State of Israel is deeper and stronger, in my view, than it’s ever been. And with this visit, we’re strengthening our connection even further.
We have reaffirmed the unshakable commitment of the United States to Israel’s security, including partnering with Israel on the most cutting-edge defense systems in the world.
From here, I’m going straight to a briefing on Israeli missiles and rocket defense capabilities, including the US support for the Iron Dome, and Israel’s new laser enabled system called the Iron Beam. We’re going to deepen our connections in science and innovation, and work to address global challenges through the new strategic high-level dialogue on technology.
We’ll continue to advance Israel’s integration into the region, expand emerging forums and engagement like the new 12U2 summit which will bring Israel, the United States, the UAE together and India, as well to deepen our economic cooperation between the Middle East and the Indo Pacific.
Greater peace, greater stability, greater connection. It’s critical, it’s critical if I might add, for all the people of the region. Which is why we’ll discuss my continued support, even though I know it’s not in the near term, of a two-state solution. That remains in my view, the best way to ensure the future of equal measure of freedom, prosperity, and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
We’re going to celebrate the ending of people-to-people connections, and the enduring connection that binds our nations together, commemorate the history that we must never allow to repeat itself.
Later today I will once more return to the hallowed ground of Yad Vashem to honor six million Jewish lives stolen in the genocide, and continue, which we must do every, every day, continue to bear witness. To keep alive the truth and horror of the Holocaust, honor those we lost, so that we never, ever, ever forget that lesson. You know, and to continue our shared and unending work to fight the poison of antisemitism, wherever it rises its ugly head. Wherever we find it in the world, we make real on the promise of “never again” by taking it on.
We have a full agenda over the next two days. Because the relationship between Israel and the United States covers every issue that matters to our mutual futures. We’re united in our shared values and our shared vision.
I’m looking forward to our time together over the next few days. May Israel and the United States continue to grow and prosper together for the benefit of the entire world. And I mean that, for the benefit [of the] entire world.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s remarks welcoming President Joe Biden at Ben Gurion Airport:
Mr. President, this is both a historic visit, and a deeply personal one.
It is historic because it expresses the unbreakable bond between our two countries. Our commitment to shared values: democracy, freedom, and the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own.
It is also a personal visit, because your relationship with Israel has always been personal. You once defined yourself as a Zionist. You said that you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. You were right, and in your case: A great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.
You have not been here for a few years, so in the next couple of days, you will see how Israel has grown and developed. You will see the strength and smartness of the Israeli army, the creativity of the start-up nation, the diversity of Israeli society.
Israel is a country that brings together the past, present, and future. Just moments ago, your plane flew over where King Saul searched for his father’s donkeys, above King David’s rooftop, above the palm tree that Deborah the prophet sat under.
You also flew over world-leading hi-tech industries, over agriculture that is helping improve food security around the globe, above universities and research institutes where Israeli scientists — including Nobel prize winners — are leading groundbreaking research.
During your visit, we will discuss matters of national security. We will discuss building a new security and economy architecture with the nations of the Middle East, following the Abraham Accords and the achievements of the Negev Summit. And we will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will stop the Iranian nuclear program.
There will be time for all of that.
Right now, we are simply happy to see you, Mr. President. The simple, genuine joy brought by seeing a good friend once again.
Mr. President, Welcome to Israel.
President Isaac Herzog’s remarks at the welcoming ceremony for US President Joe Biden:
Mr. President, welcome to Israel, our brother Joseph!
The people of Israel welcome you to the holy land with open arms and joyous hearts, as Joseph son of Jacob who sought out his brothers.
Here, Mr. President, you are truly amongst family. Like the biblical Joseph, you are both a visionary and a leader, committed to advancing the United States of America, the Middle East, the world at large, and the State of Israel.
This historic visit reflects the deep partnership our nations share: a partnership rooted in our shared commitment to democracy, justice, and freedom, tolerance, security, and peace.
The State of Israel in which you just arrived, is a successful, innovative nation, which contributes to tikkun olam, to healing the world — through science and medicine, water and food technology, climate innovation and so much more.
Mr. President, you have been a true friend, and staunch supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, of our security and wellbeing, your entire life.
In this visit, you will discuss the security challenges emanating directly from Iran and its proxies, threatening Israel and its neighbors and endangering our region.
Your first trip here in 1973, was just a few weeks before a terrible war broke out. Today, winds of peace are blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to the Gulf. This trip, Mr. President, is your journey of peace from Israel to Saudi Arabia, from the Holy Land to the Hejaz.
I hope and pray it will help advance a regional vision of prosperity, integration, peace and security for our entire region.
Dear friend, welcome to Israel, welcome home.
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