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Gantz meets Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss security concerns

In rare public meeting with the monarch, Israel’s defense minister hails improving ties between countries

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (right) meets in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah on January 5, 2022. (Royal Hashemite Court)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (right) meets in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah on January 5, 2022. (Royal Hashemite Court)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman on Wednesday in a rare public sit-down with the monarch, discussing shared security and diplomatic concerns, Gantz’s office said.

This was the second meeting between Abdullah and Gantz in the past year, with the first happening secretly last February.

According to Gantz’s office, the meeting focused on security and policy topics. In a statement, the Jordanian monarchy said Abdullah specifically discussed the “importance of maintaining calm in the Palestinian Territories and taking all measures to create the horizon needed to achieve just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.”

Israeli ties with Jordan reached a nadir in the past few years, owing in large part to bad relations between Abdullah and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and both sides have worked to improve them in recent months.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made his own secret trip to Amman to meet with the king this past summer, shortly after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, on the Jordanian side of the Allenby Bridge crossing in a public meeting. And in August, President Isaac Herzog also traveled to Amman secretly to meet the king.

The secrecy around these meetings typically comes at the request of the Jordanian government, with much of the population opposing the country maintaining close ties with Israel.

In Gantz’s meeting with Abdullah on Wednesday, the minister “thanked His Majesty for his leadership and for the Kingdom’s critical role in maintaining regional peace and stability. He also welcomed the expansion of relations between Jordan and the current Israeli government, and expressed his commitment to further developing security, economic and civilian exchanges,” his office said in a statement.

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