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White House says Netanyahu's visit will happen ‘at some point’, but no plans yet

Statement comes after House speaker says he would invite Netanyahu to Washington

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the opening of the summer session in the Knesset assembly hall in Jerusalem, May 1, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In an apparent response to Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s statement that he would invite Netanyahu to Washington if U.S. President Joe Biden does not do so soon, National Security Spokesperson John Kirby said he expects a visit “at some point.” 

"Israeli leaders have a long tradition of visiting Washington. President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known each other for a long, long time. I expect the prime minister will visit at some point," Kirby said in response to a question about McCarthy’s invitation to address Congress. 

Kirby’s comments came during a briefing with reporters, where he also said that Biden believes in the democratic principles shared by both the United States and Israel.

Kirby also reiterated that Biden wants Israel to maintain its system of checks and balances. 

Yesterday, McCarthy repeated the statement he made in an interview with Israel Hayom news, where he said if Biden did not invite Netanyahu to the White House soon, he would extend an invitation to the prime minister to address Congress. McCarthy also said he expects Biden to invite Netanyahu soon.

"I expect the White House to invite the prime minister over for a meeting, especially with the 75th anniversary,” McCarthy said. 

Biden has so far refrained from inviting Netanyahu to Washington. In March, when asked about the situation in Israel, Biden said he was “very concerned” about Israel’s direction. When asked if he planned to invite Netanyahu to the White House, Biden responded, “No, not in the near term.” 

The U.S. premier's statements marked one of the first times a U.S. president has directly commented on a legislative issue in an allied country. 

Netanyahu, for his part, praised the U.S.-Israel friendship and alliance, but said, "Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends." 

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

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