Blue and White’s candidate for prime minister Benny Gantz confirmed Tuesday that he will deliver a keynote speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference on March 25.
Gantz’s spokeswoman said he will use his speech to emphasize that if he wins the election, “he will work to rebuild the relationship with American Jewry and ensure that Israel will once again enjoy the support of its friends across the spectrum in the United States.”
She said that as prime minister, Gantz would strengthen and deepen the strategic relationship with the US in both foreign and defense policy with a focus on counter-terrorism.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and New Right co-chairman Naftali Bennett will also speak at the event. Bennett is scheduled to speak at the conference on Sunday, March 24, while Netanyahu will speak on Tuesday, March 26.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay was scheduled to appear, but on Tuesday The Jerusalem Post revealed that Gabbay canceled his speech at the upcoming conference and will instead send Labor Party MKs Stav Shaffir and Merav Michaeli.
Gabbay said he was thankful for the invitation after he spoke to 18,000 delegates last year, but that he decided not to go because it was too close to the election.
Netanyahu and Blue and White Party chairman Benny Gantz will speak on the main stage in an AIPAC plenary session. Bennett, Shaffir and Michaeli will be on a different stage.Netanyahu is also expected to meet with President Donald Trump during his visit to Washington and there has been talk of the White House setting up a state-like dinner in honor of the visiting Israeli prime minister. It is unclear if Gantz will hold diplomatic meetings while in Washington. Trump is unlikely to agree to a meeting with any of the other candidates while Netanyahu is in town.Two weeks ago, Trump said that while he was not familiar with the corruption probes against Netanyahu, he has “done a great job as prime minister.”“He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s strong,” Trump said in reply to a question from a reporter from an Israeli media outlet. “He is very defensive. His military has been built up a lot. They buy a lot of equipment from the United States, and they pay for it.”