US Vice President Joe Biden’s anticipated visit on Tuesday “expresses the strong relations between Israel and our ally the US,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet on Sunday.
“There are those who predicted the collapse of these relations – it is not so. The relationship is strong in all areas, and also in face of the challenges that we are together standing against in our region. I will discuss this, of course, with the vice president during his visit,” Netanyahu said.
The two leaders are expected to talk about Iran, Syria and the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process, although no new initiative on that front is expected during the visit.
Biden will spend two days in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he will meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
He last visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2010.
Netanyahu told his ministers that Israel’s relationships with other countries were also strong.
“We are building additional relations with many countries in the world. Every week a president, prime minister, foreign minister or other minister visits here from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America – from the entire world.
“This also expresses, of course, Israel’s status as an asset today in the fight against radical Islam and captures opportunities for the future, especially in technology,” Netanyahu said.
He noted that among the visiting leaders is Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis, who arrived in Israel on Sunday for a six-day visit with his wife, Carmen. Iohannis will meet with Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Abbas, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
The Romanian president will visit the Knesset, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Yad Vashem, Herzl’s Tomb, the Western Wall, the Dead Sea and Masada.
An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post t
hat historically a very strong friendship has existed between the two countries.
Romania is among the countries that recognized Israel upon its creation in 1948.
“It is the only eastern European country that consistently maintained good relations with Israel since our independence,” the official said.
“We are looking forward to the visit.”