Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed Tuesday not to let Israel become a partisan issue in the United States.
“I’ll challenge any attempt to make America a partisan political issue in Israel and Israel a partisan political issue in the United States,” he said, speaking at a Fourth of July celebration hosted by the U.S. charge d’affaires in Israel, Michael Ratney.
After welcoming the guests to the American Embassy in Jerusalem and apologizing that the guest list was much smaller than usual due to the coronavirus, Ratney said, “There have certainly been a lot of changes in Israel recently and, I must say, a lot of changes in Washington.”
Turning to Bennett, he added, “We know that you and your government will be great partners as we enter a period that brings both opportunities and risks.”
“There are changes in the air and it’s looking good,” Bennett replied, describing his government as “the most diverse coalition in Israel’s history.”
“It’s not easy, but it’s working,” he added. “When there is trust and goodwill, it can work.”
Bennett said it was very touching for him to be there, since both his parents were born and raised in San Francisco. He added that one of the things of which he is proudest is that his father, Jim Bennett, was arrested by the police during a sit-in at a San Francisco hotel that refused to hire Blacks.
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He also said he intended to work with the Biden administration and Congress to upgrade the American-Israeli partnership.
“I had a warm discussion with President [Joe] Biden,” he continued. “He is going to be an amazing partner in this endeavor. He is not only committed to the Israeli-American alliance, he has always proved his true love for the Jewish people.”
“I’ll challenge any attempt to make America a partisan political issue in Israel and Israel a partisan political issue in the United States,” he added.
Ratney also used the occasion to thank outgoing President Reuven Rivlin for his years of service and congratulate his successor, Isaac Herzog.
“We know, as President Biden said recently, that under President Herzog’s presidency, the partnership between Israel and the United States will continue to grow and prosper,” he said.