US President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A growing number of Israeli politicians are expected to descend on Washington in the coming months as part of an effort by the government to forge ties with the Trump administration.
The first to meet with the administration will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who President Donald Trump invited to visit the White House during their phone call on Sunday.
While a date has not yet been finalized, Netanyahu is expected to fly to Washington the first week of February for a few days during which he will meet with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson and congressional leaders.
Israel looks forward to working with Trump, says Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer
Netanyahu is scheduled to travel later that month to Singapore and Australia.
President Reuven Rivlin is also in talks about the possibility that he will attend AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference scheduled for the end of March.
Opposition leader and Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog is also expected to attend the conference.
Other ministers said to be exploring the possibility of traveling to Washington in the coming weeks include Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“A lot of politicians are interested in getting to Washington to start coordinating with their new American counterparts,” one member of the coalition explained.
Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer was planning to return to Israel had Hillary Clinton won the presidential election, but his term has now been extended indefinitely by Netanyahu.
Dermer is said to have a close relationship with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top adviser to the president.
On Monday, Netanyahu blasted some of the members of his coalition who have been pressuring him to approve legislation that would annex the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.
“This is not the time to shoot from the hip, this is not the time for surprises, this is the time for diplomacy between friends that will strengthen our ties,” Netanyahu insisted.
“Therefore for the good of our country and the settlement enterprise I suggest everyone put aside all other considerations and let me lead the policy.”