US Vice President Joe Biden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
United States Vice President Joe Biden will attend the annual Independence Day celebration at Israel's embassy in Washington DC next week.
Israel's Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer on Thursday said he was pleased to host the vice president at the holiday event marking Israel's 67 years of independence.
Hundreds of local leaders, diplomats and Israel supporters will flock to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where Biden – whose comments on the security of American Jews made headlines last month – is slated to give brief remarks. Last fall, Biden told a group
of prominent American Jewish officials that they should ultimately rely on Israel – and not the United States – for their community’s long-term safety.
His participation in next Thursday's festivities, the first for a sitting vice president since Dick Cheney took part in a 2008 event honoring Israel's 60's birthday, comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Washington. Strains in relations flared in March, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the US capital to warn lawmakers about the perils of negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
The Israeli premier's speech was arranged without the White House's knowledge, violating established protocol and sparking outrage in the Obama orbit. Dermer, seen as instrumental to orchestrating the now-infamous speech before Congress, has raised ire on Capitol Hill.