Opposition Leader Yair Lapid will travel to Washington next week for high-level meetings with top White House and State Department officials, his office says.
The meetings are noteworthy for taking place despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still not visiting the White House since reentering office late last year.
Netanyahu received an invite from US President Joe Biden to meet in the US during a recent phone call, though it remains unclear whether the two will meet at the White House.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said earlier this month that he anticipates “the president will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu sometime in the latter part of this year in the fall, and [that] it’ll be somewhere in the United States.”
The answer further pointed to a possible meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s high-level week in September, which both Netanyahu and Biden plan to attend. However, such a meeting would be one of many the US president will hold that week and ostensibly be lower profile than the Oval Office photo op that the Israeli premier likely envisions as he seeks to boost his diplomatic bona fides, which have taken a hit due to his far-right coalition partners.
Netanyahu returned to office on December 29, and it took seven months for Biden to even agree to a meeting. In late March, the president said one would not take place in the “near term” amid Washington’s disapproval of the government’s judicial overhaul.