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Blinken's 4th visit to Israel since Iron Swords war began, will meet with Herzog and Netanyahu

Herzog meets with Blinken, just after the terror attack in Jerusalem this morning

Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv, Nov. 30, 2023 (Photo: President's Spokesperson)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning, just minutes after the terror attack that took place in Jerusalem just minutes before. 

“Good morning, Secretary Blinken. Once again, unfortunately, as we are meeting now, there are casualties in a serious terror attack at the entrance to Jerusalem our capital,” Herzog told Blinken.

“Two terrorists have attacked innocent civilians waiting to be picked up to go about their day, to go to work.” 

Herzog said the attack was “another example of the situation we’re in, the endless war that we are fighting against terror organizations, especially Hamas, in these very complicated and challenging times.” 

The Israeli president thanked Blinken for the visit to express Washington's support for Israel. He also thanked the White House for its role in negotiating the release of Israeli hostages

“We are working, praying for, and demanding the immediate release of all hostages, and I thank the United States of America for the immense work it is devoting to the release of the hostages,” Herzog said. 

Herzog spoke about the latest developments regarding the Bibas family, who was captured alive on Oct 7.

Hamas released a statement on Wednesday claiming that the mother, Shiri, and her two boys, 4-year-old Ariel and 10-month-old Kfir, had been killed in an Israeli strike. The statement has not yet been corroborated by the Israeli government, who is conducting an investigation.

“There are still around 150 hostages who are in Hamas hands in Gaza. I would like to raise the plight of the Bibas family,” Herzog said. “Their whereabouts are unknown to us, and we are demanding their immediate release.” 

The Israeli president also spoke about the late Henry Kissinger, one of the most prominent Jews of the twentieth century, who died on Wednesday night at the age of 100. Kissinger had many interactions with Israeli leaders, from Golda Meir to Benjamin Netanyahu and many others.  

“Finally, Mr. Secretary, you're following in the footsteps of a giant, a titan, Dr. Henry Kissinger who left us peacefully last night.” 

Herzog told Blinken that Kissinger had “laid down the foundations of so many great decisions and processes” which “brought results that we feel until today” and reminded the U.S. diplomat that Kissinger had “laid the cornerstone of the peace agreement which was later signed with Egypt.” 

He stated that Kissinger ended their last phone call by saying, “Mr. President, please know I've always loved and admired and supported the State of Israel.” 

Blinken told Herzog: “We're reminded yet again by the events in Jerusalem today of the threat from terrorism that Israel and Israelis face every single day” and reiterated that the issue of the hostages is a U.S. priority.

“From Day 1, we have been focused on trying to secure the release of hostages from Gaza, from Hamas. And we have seen over the last week the very positive developments of hostages coming home and being reunited with their families, and that should continue today.” 

Blinken also mentioned “the increase in humanitarian assistance” to “innocent civilians in Gaza who need it desperately,” and said the U.S. hopes the process will continue.

“I look forward to detailed conversations with the Government of Israel about the way ahead in Gaza,” the state secretary said. “The United States firmly supports Israel and its right to defend itself and to try to ensure that October 7 never happens again.” 

Blinken said Kissinger “really set the standard for everyone who followed in in this job," adding: "I was very privileged to get his counsel many times including as recently as about a month ago.” 

President Herzog thanked Secretary Blinken on social for his visit in "a difficult time."

Blinken will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Thursday. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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