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Israeli defense minister will meet, discuss 'developing security challenges and opportunities' with American counterpart in Washington

October meeting will end Netanyahu’s restriction on senior members of his government to not meet with Biden administration officials

Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ben-Gurion International Airport, March 9, 2023. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington later this month.

Gallant received the invitation from his American counterpart on Sunday.

The meeting between the two defense officials will mark an end to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ban on senior members of his government from meeting with Biden administration officials, a restriction he established in response to not having, himself, received an invitation to the White House.

Israeli media reported on Monday that Netanyahu’s diplomatic shift came after his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Biden also invited Netanyahu to visit him at the White House before the end of 2023.

Gallant and Austin have already met on two separate occasions this year, in Israel and Brussels, and held numerous phone calls since assuming their roles.

Their upcoming meeting comes amid increasing expectations on both sides of the pond that a historic peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel will soon be forged.

It also comes against the backdrop of a controversial prisoner swap deal between the U.S. and Iran, which the Israeli government fears may be a harbinger of a new nuclear agreement.

Gallant is scheduled to meet with additional senior U.S. officials and will discuss “developing security challenges and opportunities in the Middle East region,” his office said.

Among them are U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Barbara Leaf, as well as Biden's Middle East advisor, Brett McGurk.

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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