Opposition leader Herzog enters DC political minefield

If he shakes hands with Clinton, he knows he will have to shake hands with Republican candidates, too.

March 20, 2016 21:58
1 minute read.
Herzog Biden

US VP Joe Biden and opposition leader Isaac Herzog. (photo credit: ISAAC HERZOG)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office cited his desire to avoid entering the American political fray among his reasons for not coming to the AIPAC Policy Conference currently taking place in Washington.

But Zionist Union and Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog did not avoid veering into what could be a political minefield.

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As of late Sunday, Herzog was not set to meet with any American presidential candidates.

But he is expected to shake hands with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who is speaking to the conference immediately after him on Monday.

If he shakes hands with Clinton, he knows he will have to shake hands with Republican candidates, too.

Three of them are speaking at the Conference: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

The Trump handshake could cause problems with Herzog’s supporters on the Left in Israel.

Meanwhile, the one meeting that was definitely set for Herzog is with Vice President Joe Biden, with whom he met when Biden came to Israel two weeks ago. The rest of the top officials in US president Barack Obama’s administration are with the president in Cuba.

Other MKs speaking at the conference include Avi Dichter (Likud) and Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid). A Yesh Atid spokesman said he was unaware of any plan by Shelah to meet with Trump.

Netanyahu will address the conference via satellite on Tuesday, avoiding intervention in the American political arena.

“Bibi was smart to know that this is not the right time to be here,” Dichter said from Washington. “I am not meeting any candidates, because I know I have to be very careful. People will grab you in different directions, and you can never know where it starts and ends.”

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