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U.S. and Israel discussing Netanyahu visit, no invitation yet – source

2023-03-28T14:12:48Z

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he attends a meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, amid demonstrations after he dismissed the defence minister as his nationalist coalition government presses on with its judicial overhaul, in Jerusalem, March 27, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The United States and Israel are discussing a planned visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but no invitation has been extended yet, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Any such invitation could give the embattled Israeli leader a boost after he faced some of the biggest protests in Israel’s history over bitterly contested plans for a judicial overhaul.

There have been general talks about a visit by Netanyahu, according to a personal familiar with the discussions. “No invitation extended and no dates yet,” the person said.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that U.S. President Joe Biden plans to host the Israeli leader in coming months, citing U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides. He said no date had been set.

Nides, in an interview on Israeli radio, said he expected any planned meeting to take place after the Jewish festival of Passover ends April 13, the Times reported.

“He obviously will be coming,”Nides said. “I assume after Passover.”

Netanyahu on Monday delayed a decision on the judicial overhaul amid fears that Israel’s worst national crisis in years could fracture his coalition or escalate into violence.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Netanyahu had no immediate comment.

The United States welcomed Netanyahu’s delay of the judicial overhaul decision. Biden had shared his concerns about the overhaul directly with Netanyahu, the White House said.

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