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Biden-Bennett Summit Was Successful but Israeli PM Still Missed Out on 2 Important Aspects

The postponement of the meeting between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the White House, caused by the brutal terrorist attack at the Kabul airport, didn’t detract from the importance of the meeting or undermine its political significance. The meeting was an impressive event characterized by warm and friendly attitudes on both sides. The Biden-Bennett meeting in the White House highlighted two things, which were also strengthened and intensified in earlier meetings and talks that the prime minister held with US senior officials. First: Israel isn’t the weakest and most needy child in the classroom, who needs constant reaffirmation and special attention — as was the case during Donald Trump’s four years in office. In the eyes of President Biden and the top echelons of his government, Israel is a regional power, and America has a major political interest in maintaining it as such by ensuring its military superiority. But this position of power also means that the United States can disagree with Israel and object to its policy stances. As far as Israel is concerned, the visit showed that it’s permissible for the Israeli government to have divergent opinions from those of the American administration, but these disagreements must not turn into public quarrels. The interview that Prime Minister Bennett gave to The New York Times laid out a clear and unequivocal vision pertaining to the two-state solution and the chances of dialogue with the Palestinians. Yet his positions were presented with composure and realism that is respectful of the US. Officials in Washington confirmed that the White House summit was an important and successful event. According to several sources, Biden and Bennett agreed to meet again in a few months. But there was also an acknowledgment that no real practical steps have been agreed upon between the two sides. It should be noted that during his visit to Washington, Bennett made two mistakes. First, he didn’t initiate any meetings with senior Republican members of Congress. Second, he didn’t invite any senior Jewish official to discuss ways in which Israel can rebuild its ties with American Jewry. This fact didn’t prevent senior Jewish officials in New York from publishing enthusiastic responses to the prime minister’s visit. Several “veterans” among them, such as Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and Jack Rosen of the American Jewish Congress, the White House event was “a revival and reaffirmation” of the alliance between the two nations. – Shlomo Shamir (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)