The White House has not yet set a date for US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, and this likely stems from the political crisis in Israel and the possibility of the government’s collapse. This results from Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi’s announcement of defection from the coalition, meaning the government is supported by a minority of 59 Knesset members.
The White House is waiting to clarify the political situation in Israel, especially since the Likud party and the opposition may present a bill to dissolve the Knesset next Wednesday.
An Israeli official said that cancelling Biden’s visit to Israel would not be surprising, according to what was reported by the Ynet website on Friday.
The official added: “As the security situation is problematic and the coalition is fragile, it is not certain that Biden will benefit from such a visit. If the government falls, then Biden’s visit at this time may be considered very problematic, and they do not want to appear as favouring one party over the other in Israel.”
The Israeli government is awaiting a response from the White House regarding the date and agenda for Biden’s visit. White House staff visited Israel two weeks ago and discussed several possibilities regarding the date of the visit. According to an Israeli official, if the visit is not cancelled, it will occur between 21-24 June.
According to the proposed agenda, Biden will receive an official reception at Ben Gurion Airport, with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the heads of the coalition. Biden is expected to visit an Iron Dome battery site to express his commitment to Israel’s security and transfer a budget to Israel to purchase interceptor missiles.
READ: Biden, Jordan King discuss efforts to calm Israel-Palestine tensions
Biden will hold meetings with Bennett and Israeli President Isaac Herzog and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Museum.
The White House is looking into the possibility of Biden visiting a Palestinian hospital in occupied Jerusalem, Al-Makassed or Augusta Victoria, to announce financial support. Biden may also visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
However, an Israeli official stated: “Nothing has been agreed upon, and there are many question marks, including whether or not the visit will occur.”
US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides headed to Washington as part of US discussions over the visit, and at the end of Nides’ visit to Washington, it will be clear whether Biden will visit Israel or not.