All Israel

SCOOP: Speaker Johnson has declined to meet Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz — but he should

Dems and Senator McConnell are meeting with Gantz — Johnson should, too

SAN DIEGO — U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson has declined to meet in Washington today or tomorrow with Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, ALL ISRAEL NEWS has learned.

This is a mistake.

Bipartisanship in wartime is vital.

Mr. Speaker, your credentials as an American patriot, a devout Evangelical Christian, and a strong supporter of Israel are unquestioned.

US Speaker Mike Johnson

Reverse your decision.

Make time with Gantz.

You need to hear what this respected minister has to say — ask him direct questions — and use every moment to best understand what America’s most faithful ally is going through.

Second in line to the Israeli presidency, you should build a relationship with Gantz — and all senior Israeli leaders — to hear what he thinks Israel needs most from Washington and the American people.

Gantz spent 36 years in the Israeli Defense Forces.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaks at a "Mechinot" convention in Jerusalem. May 26, 2013. Photo by FLASH90

He served as IDF chief of staff.

He also served as Israel’s defense minister.

Polls show Gantz is also the most popular leader in Israel.

If elections were held today, polls indicate that he would replace current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a wide coalition of upwards of 70 to 74 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset.

True, media reports indicate that Netanyahu is furious with Gantz for going to Washington this week without authorization.

But officials in Washington should not take sides in this internal Israeli dispute.

American leaders need to hear from all three members of the Israeli War Cabinet — Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Gantz — now more than ever.

They all share the same wartime objectives.

But they have some nuanced — and some significant — differences on how best to prosecute and win the war.

And what to do next in Gaza when the war is over.

The White House is welcoming Gantz.

Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with him today.

So will Secretary of State Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Middle East envoy Brett McGurk.

Senior Senate and House leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — have scheduled meetings with Gantz.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS has learned that this includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican.

Bipartisan members of the Foreign Relations Committee are meeting with Gantz, as well they should.

Gantz’s team says they have five goals for their trip to Washington:

1. Strengthening the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States.

2. Preserving the legitimacy for the continuation of Israel's ground operation in Gaza, and promoting a security arrangement in Lebanon.

3. Strengthening the American pressure on the mediators regarding the hostage framework, in accordance with the Paris principles.

4. Discussions regarding the issue of normalization agreements that will also form part of the political plan for the dismantling of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

5. Ensuring the continuation of American aid which is vital to Israel's national security.

Again, war is not a time for partisanship.

The Democrats are meeting with Gantz.

So are McConnell and other Republicans.

Mr. Speaker, you should, too.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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