Assessment: All the sappy rhetoric Bennett and Lapid could muster in public about their affection for Biden and their belief in his friendship for Israel flopped, as did their strong arguments and warnings about the folly of engagement with Iran that they delivered in private …
As far as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid are concerned, this week has brought a perfect storm of circumstances that threaten to complicate their hopes for a better relationship with the United States.
Both men, each for their own reasons, see establishing a good rapport with President Joe Biden and his administration as one of the main goals of their coalition government that took office in June.
“… And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” Luke 21-24
But blistering criticism was issued by the U.S. State Department on two issues: its renewed commitment to reopening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and settlement building in the West Bank. On top of that is the news that Iran is returning to nuclear talks in Vienna. They were body blows to hopes that their ousting of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is viewed by Biden’s team as the devil incarnate, would ensure the president’s goodwill and protect them against the kind of hostility that was the hallmark of U.S. attitudes towards Jerusalem the last time Democrats were in power.
Perhaps they knew that the announcement that a few thousand new homes would be built in existing West Bank settlements, as well as the designation of six Palestinian non-governmental organizations as terror groups, would provoke Washington’s ire.
The two are also painfully aware that their attempts have failed to persuade the Americans to back off their determination to renew efforts to appease Iran and bring it back into a nuclear deal that Israelis believe is a disaster.
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