Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Arrives in Washington Ahead of Obama Meet

Rivlin will meet with U.S. president on Wednesday for the first time since assuming presidency. Rivlin will also open the Haaretz conference in New York before departing for Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin strolls with a bodyguard in the background.
Emil Salman

WASHINGTON - President Reuven Rivlin landed in the United States on Tuesday, a day before his scheduled meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. This will be the first meeting between the two since Rivlin assumed the presidency. Israeli and American officials both say that each side hopes to convey that bilateral relations remain strong and steadfast.

Rivlin landed in New York on Tuesday morning on a commercial El Al flight, then took a train to Washington. Rivlin is expected to hold a series of meetings on Tuesday with the Democratic and Republican leadership in the U.S. House and Senate.

Later in the day, Rivlin will attend a joint meeting on Capitol Hill with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Rivlin will then meet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY).

The main part of Rivlin's visit is set to take place on Wednesday, when at 9:15 P.M. Israel time he will arrive at the White House with his wife, Nechama Rivlin. After being received by Obama and his wife, Michelle, Rivlin and Obama will carry on to a working meeting, at the beginning of which they will address the media. Later, Obama and Rivlin will participate at a festive Hanukkah reception at the White House, where they will light candles and deliver short speeches.

On Thursday, Rivlin is scheduled to deliver a diplomatic speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, after which he will travel by train to New York for a series of meetings with leaders of the Jewish community. On Sunday afternoon Israel time, Rivlin will open the Haaretz conference in New York and fly back to Israel at night.