President Joe Biden (L) and PM Naftali Bennett in Washington, Aug. 27, 2021. (GPO) (GPO)
President Joe Biden (L) and PM Naftali Bennett

“We achieved all the goals we set for the visit and beyond. We agreed with the Americans on joint strategic work to halt the Iranian nuclear race,” the Israeli prime minister said.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

The Israeli delegation to Washington took off for Israel Sunday morning after multiple delays.

US President Joe Biden was scheduled to meet mid-day Thursday with the Israeli prime minister but the talks were postponed until Friday due to the double suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that claimed the lives of 13 US Marines among the nearly 200 victims.

Before taking off to Israel after his first diplomatic visit to Washington, Bennett crowned the visit as “a successful working visit to Washington.”

“The meeting was very warm and very helpful. A direct and personal connection has been established between President Biden and me, a connection based on trust,” he said.

“We achieved all the goals we set for the visit and beyond. We agreed with the Americans on joint strategic work to halt the Iranian nuclear race. We have taken a significant step in equipping and building Israeli power,” he added.

After a one-on-one meeting with Biden, Bennett told the press that he brings with him “a new spirit, a spirit of goodwill, a spirit of hope, a spirit of decency and honesty, a spirit of unity and bipartisanship of folks who harbor very different political opinions, even opposing ones, yet we all share the deep passion to work together to build a better future for Israel. And that’s what Israel is about. We’re out to be good, to do good.”

Biden declared his administration’s “commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. But we’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”

Bennett told the president he appreciated his “clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire nuclear weapons and that you emphasized that you will try the diplomatic route, but there are other options if that doesn’t work.”

“Iran is the world’s number one exporter of terror, instability and human rights violations. As we sit here right now, the Iranians are spinning their centrifuges in Natanz and Fordow.  We have got to stop them, and we both agree about that. So we have developed a comprehensive strategy that we’re going to be talking about with two goals.

“The first goal is to stop Iran’s regional aggression and start rolling it back into the box. And the second is to permanently keep Iran away from ever being able to break out to a nuclear weapon,” Bennett stated.

An Embarrassing Moment

In an embarrassing moment, Biden, who read his statements from a piece of paper, was seen dozing off as Bennett made his passionate statements.

Bennett’s team worked hard to present the summit as a stellar success, but others have pointed to what they saw as the meeting’s shortcomings.

Former prime minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party accused Bennett of “completely capitulating to Biden and harming Israel’s security when he pledged not to fight publicly against Iran’s return to the nuclear deal.”

Reports indicate that Bennett vowed he would not openly lobby against the US’ return to the nuclear deal with Iran, a strategy Netanyahu championed as prime minister and which ultimately led to President Donald Trump’s departure from the 2015 nuclear deal.

“This is a dangerous decision that combines inexperience, irresponsibility and lack of leadership. Iran is galloping and the weak government in Israel has shown that it does not intend to fight against it,” the Likud charged.

United with Israel contributed to this report.

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