US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited Israel’s borders with Gaza and Lebanon on Tuesday.
The tour was led by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Herzy Halevy, and Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan accompanied her.
Erdan said the tour was “an important milestone in the strategic cooperation between Israel and the US.
“The ambassador and I work together to stop initiatives against Israel in the Security Council, and today she learned in depth the security picture in the region,” he stated. “In the North and South, the ambassador saw the many threats we deal with and the terror organizations that are right over the border, as extensions of Iran.”
Thomas-Greenfield saw Iron Dome missile-defense batteries that Erdan said are “an inseparable part of our security alliance, which protects the citizens of Israel and will soon also protect the lives of American soldiers in war zones in the world.”
Erdan said he thinks that next time the US ambassador has to speak about Israel in the UN Security Council, she will surely remember this trip.
Thomas-Greenfield also met with the Goldin family, whose son Hadar was killed by Hamas in 2014, and the terrorist organization continues to hold his body.
"The US will continue to advocate for the return of Israeli soldiers killed in action in Gaza and the return of Israeli civilians held captive there," she tweeted.
The ambassador’s two-day trip was the first by a member of US President Joe Biden’s cabinet to the new government in Jerusalem, and her first visit to Israel.
She is expected to continue to Ramallah, where she will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and to Amman.
On Monday, Thomas-Greenfield said the US would like more countries to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, after the Abraham Accords.
Following a meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Thomas-Greenfield tweeted, “Encouraged to hear about the tangible progress of the Abraham Accords during my meeting with [Lapid]. The United States will continue to encourage countries in the region to normalize relations and expand cooperation with Israel, including at the UN.”
Thomas-Greenfield is “a true friend who fights shoulder-to-shoulder with us in one of the more complex areas in the international community,” Lapid said. “Our friendship is based not only on mutual interests but on shared values and a shared worldview.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the ambassador, “There is a significant difference between the reality in Israel and what is heard about us in the corridors of the UN.”
He thanked her for presenting “fairness and reason in an institution that we both can say objectively is biased against Israel.”
Bennett said Thomas-Greenfield can see Israel’s “vibrant democracy” while in Israel, and expressed hope that she will get a better idea of the challenges it faces, including Iran-backed terrorist organizations.
Earlier, Thomas-Greenfield met with President Isaac Herzog and said the US “looks forward to working with him on the many issues that unite us.”
Herzog and Thomas-Greenfield discussed strategic affairs, and the president thanked her for standing with Israel at the UN.
Thomas-Greenfield met with Transportation Minister and Labor leader Merav Michaeli as well, tweeting afterward, “Like [US President Joe Biden, [Michaeli] knows infrastructure is a national security issue. And I applaud her work to advance gender equality in all areas of society.”
Thomas-Greenfield also visited Yad Vashem and said she was “deeply moved” by the experience.
“Thank you to all those involved in creating this institution devoted to Holocaust remembrance and education and to combating Holocaust denial and distortion,” she tweeted.