Opposition leader and Yesh Atid party chair Yair Lapid will visit the U.S. capital in Washington, D.C. next week, according to a Walla! news report on Tuesday. He is expected to meet with seniors officials in the White House and the U.S. State Department.
Lapid's visit could possibly come just before a yet-to-be-announced visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, which could take place on Sept. 18, according to media reports last week.
Netanyahu has still not visited the White House since resuming office, a very unusual situation for the long-time Israeli prime minister and allegedly the result of the U.S. Biden administration's discontent with the Jewish state's judicial reform plan and the current right-wing Israeli government and some of its policies, particularly regarding the building of settlements in Judea and Samaria.
After the months-long snub, in July the Biden administration officially invited Netanyahu to visit the White House in September but without announcing a date.
In response to the snub, Netanyahu forbade his ministers to hold official visits with U.S. officials until he received an invitation.
Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who visited the U.S. on August 24, was reportedly forbidden to meet government officials during the trip, according to an Arab media report.
The only Israeli minister permitted to embark on an official visit until now was Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s personal emissary.
During Lapid’s visit, the officials are expected to focus on the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia about a broad defense and security agreement that could potentially include a Saudi-Israeli peace deal.
Lapid has publicly objected to allowing Saudi Arabia to enrich uranium as part of a possible civilian nuclear program, which is reportedly one of the Saudi kingdom's demands for the deal.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.