During his visit to Israel, John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, together with Prime Minister Netanyahu, emphasized the strong US-Israel alliance and common threats facing both nations.
After a stormy political month in Washington surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a special session of Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat, which took place in March, House Speaker John Boehner is on an official visit to Israel, together with a delegation from Congress, after making stops in the United Kingdom, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Boehner met privately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in Jerusalem, followed by a press conference in which they both stated that US-Israel ties have never been closer.
Netanyahu thanked Boehner and US lawmakers “from both Houses of Congress and from both sides of the aisle” for the warm welcome he received during his stay in Washington.
“Your visit here is testament to the historic and enduring bind that unites our two nations, our two democracies,” Netanyahu stressed. “This is a bond that is founded on our common values, our shared commitment to liberty and equal rights for all. And this alliance of values is cemented by our common interests.”
Noting that Boehner was one of 12 children, Netanyahu quipped: “Well, you came to the right place. We are the descendants of the 12 children of Jacob, also known as Israel. John, welcome to Israel. Welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome, friend.”
“Let me use the opportunity of this visit to reiterate something that I’ve said before but needs to be said again and again,” the Israeli leader said. “The people of Israel know that we have no better friend in the world than the United States of America. And the American people should know that they have no better friend in the world than the State of Israel.”
Boehner reciprocated the warm comments, saying that “the bonds between the United States and Israel are as strong as ever. Our two countries cooperate on many different levels. And while we may have political disagreements from time to time, the bonds between our two nations are strong and they’re going to continue to be strong.”
The relationship between Washington and Jerusalem had reached a new low following Netanyahu’s re-election, as the White House launched a verbal assault on the democratically elected leader.
Describing his visit as an “historic opportunity to be here in Israel at this time,” Boehner emphasized that “no matter where in the Middle East we’ve been, the message has been the same: You can’t continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face all of us.”
Boehner congratulated Netanyahu on his re-election, The prime minister replied, “The hard part begins now. That was the easy part.”
Boehner agreed, saying, “elections are always the easy part.”
Boehner also met with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and visited the IDF’s Southern Command facing the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where he met General Shlomo Turgeman, commander of the South Command, Brig.-Gen Itay Virov of the Gaza Border Brigade, who briefed him on Operation Protective Edge and the current security situation.