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Biden to meet Israel's Netanyahu after months of tension

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured at his office in Jerusalem on Monday. Netanyahu spoke with President Biden, who invited him for a meeting later this year.
Ohad Zwigenberg
/
Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured at his office in Jerusalem on Monday. Netanyahu spoke with President Biden, who invited him for a meeting later this year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet with President Biden later this year, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday. Details of when and where are still under discussion, he added.

The announcement comes a day before Israeli President Isaac Herzog is set to visit Washington to meet with Biden and address Congress.

It also follows months of tensions between the U.S. and Israel over Netanyahu's far-right proposals to overhaul the country's judicial system. Netanyahu's supporters say liberal courts have too much power over government decisions. Opponents say the moves would endanger Israel's system of checks and balances.

Biden had not extended an invitation to Netanyahu since his election last fall. In March, after widespread protests in Israel, Netanyahu agreed to put a pause on efforts to change how Israel appoints judges to the Supreme Court. Biden told reporters at the time he was "very concerned" about Netanyahu's proposal, sparking a back-and-forth between the two nations.

Netanyahu is now moving forward with those judicial efforts, and Kirby said that in a phone call on Monday, Biden reiterated "the need for the broadest possible consensus, and that shared democratic values have always been and must remain a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship."

The White House said Biden also emphasized the strong relationship between the countries; the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem said the two leaders had a "long and warm conversation."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.