President Herzog departs for the US, will commemorate Israel's 75th anniversary

The trip is meant “to strengthen the relations and the partnership between the US and Israel," the president’s office stated.

 President Isaac Herzog departs for the United States (photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog departs for the United States
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog set off on a diplomatic visit to the United States late Monday night to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel. As a highlight of his visit, Herzog will address both houses of the American Congress, which will convene in a special session dedicated to honoring this significant milestone.

The trip is meant “to strengthen the relations and the partnership between the US and Israel and to reflect the deep ties between the countries which are placed above all controversy,” the president’s office stated.

Herzog’s visit comes the week after US President Joe Biden called the current Israeli government the "most extreme" he has ever seen, citing its ministers' support for Israeli Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Biden has publicly declined to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington over the government's policies, including judicial reform, which US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides repeatedly called to slow down.

During his stay, Herzog is scheduled to meet with Biden at the White House. The visit follows invitations extended by former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and current Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. This marks his second visit to the US since taking office.

What did Herzog say before departing?

Upon his departure, Herzog expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "I am heading to the United States on a momentous mission to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Israel's independence. I have been invited by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, from the Democratic Party, and by current Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, from the Republican Party, to address a special session of Congress. 

"This is a rare and emotional event, where I will speak on behalf of the Israeli citizens, sharing the inspiring and extraordinary narrative of the deep and profound relationship between Israel and the United States - an enduring bond built on shared values that transcend governments and administrations."

Herzog further expressed his anticipation to meet Biden, emphasizing their strong friendship and Biden's support for Israel.

"I am excited to meet President Joe Biden, a true friend of the State of Israel, who I was pleased to hear reaffirm the American commitment to Israel's security, the fight against Iran and our common struggle against our adversaries in the region, as expressed during his recent conversation with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu," Herzog said.

Herzog is also expected to meet with US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and prominent figures within Jewish organizations, as well as various heads of state.

"I urge my colleagues in the Knesset and all public figures to strive for reasonable compromises, both on the issue of compromises and on other matters. It simply requires effort, a willingness to give up a little, to enter the room," he continued. "It doesn't have to be in the President's Office; it can also be behind the scene in the Knesset. Make an extra effort, the price is too high."

"I call on everyone to make this additional effort, especially during this week," Herzog said as he ended his speech at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Boycotting Herzog's speech

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, urged Members of Congress to join her in boycotting Herzog's upcoming speech on Twitter, saying, "In solidarity with the Palestinian people and all those who have been harmed by Israel's apartheid government, I will be boycotting President Herzog's joint address to Congress. I urge all Members of Congress who stand for human rights for all to join me. #BoycottApartheid."

Lahav Harkov contributed to this article.