Meet signals end of PM's apparent ban on ministers going to DC

Gallant to meet US counterpart in Washington, after Netanyahu’s sit-down with Biden

Defense minister’s office says he and Lloyd Austin will ‘discuss developing security challenges and opportunities in the Mideast,’ in their third face-to-face meeting

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant greets US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ben Gurion Airport, March 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant greets US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ben Gurion Airport, March 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is slated to meet with his American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in Washington later this month, his office said in a statement Sunday.

The meeting signals an end to an apparent ban by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on minister visits to Washington until he’s invited to the White House.

The Israeli premier met two weeks ago with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and not at the White House as Netanyahu had sought. But Biden opened their meeting by indicating he would invite Netanyahu to the White House in the near future.

Gallant has met with Austin twice already since entering the role in late December — in Israel and in Brussels. The pair have also held numerous phone calls over the past 10 months.

The Defense Ministry said Sunday that Gallant received an invitation from Austin to Washington. In the statement, the ministry said the official visit to the US was scheduled to take place later this month.

“During the visit, Minister Gallant will meet with additional senior US officials and will discuss developing security challenges and opportunities in the Middle East region,” his office added.

Gallant visited the US in late August to meet with officials at the UN headquarters, ahead of a vote on extending the mandate of a UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

During that visit, Gallant also met with two White House officials — US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and National Security Council Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk  — but notably no senior American defense officials, given that Netanyahu himself had not been invited to the White House at that time.

The upcoming meeting between Gallant and Austin is likely to focus on the issue of the Iranian threat in the Middle East, and a potential US-backed normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.