Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion International Airport.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Israeli and US officials are working on a date for a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump when Netanyahu travels to Washington in early March to attend AIPAC’s annual policy conference, an Israeli diplomatic official said on Thursday.
Netanyahu made reference to the upcoming meeting during a speech at the Globes Business Conference in Jerusalem, saying he will meet Trump in Washington in March, “if not before then.” This would be their first meeting since September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
Diplomatic officials said there was a possibility that the two leaders would meet at the Davos Economic Summit later this month, which they are both scheduled to attend. Nothing final, however, has yet been set up.
Netanyahu, who is going to India on Sunday for meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
, also said he has set up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming weeks. Referring to all the planned meetings, Netanyahu said that “in the coming weeks I will meet with the leaders of three of the four strongest countries in the world.”
This is a testament to Israel’s diplomatic stature and strength, he said, which flows from the country’s economic and military strength.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu still finds himself dealing on a daily basis with political issues and scandals swirling around him and his family.
At a special cabinet meeting on Thursday to deal with the 2019 state budget, Netanyahu told Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked it would be appropriate to look into the legal issues surrounding the taping and the leak of the tape of his son Yair’s drunken conversation with friends
following a night at Tel Aviv strip joints in 2015.
His comments came after Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev called for an investigation into the matter, amid a discussion inside the cabinet of the possibility of promoting legislation that would protect government ministers and their families from similar occurrences in the future.
Regev said legal action needed to be taken against the driver who taped Yair Netanyahu’s conversation.
“It is inconceivable that the system does not protect us,” she said. “The time has come for our legal system to deal with the matter and defend us. This is very serious. What happened today to Yair Netanyahu can happen tomorrow to Regev and [Finance Minister Moshe] Kahlon, to the prime minister, to anyone.”
Netanyahu said redlines were crossed both regarding the provision of personal security and in the media.
The ministers said they were in an untenable position: The state demanded that they accept guards and security, but then the security detail can tape their conversations that could then be used against them in the future.