Lapid in D.C.

In Washington, Israeli opposition leader Lapid meets with Blinken, Schumer

The former prime minister and current opposition leader said that 'no current events, no government, even, will interfere' with U.S.-Israel relationship

Yair Lapid/X

Israeli Opposition Leader Yair Lapid meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Washington, D.C., April 8, 2024

Israeli Opposition Leader Yair Lapid huddled with U.S. officials in Washington this week as frustration grows among Democrats about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau’s handling of the war in Gaza. 

Lapid met on Monday with Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for discussions on humanitarian solutions in Gaza and a hostage deal with Hamas, the latter of which he told reporters on Monday was “doable.”

“It is a difficult deal, this is a deal we might not like, but it’s doable and therefore it needs to be made,” Lapid said outside the State Department.

“The United States and the State of Israel are the best of allies and the best of friends, and we need to maintain this friendship. No current events, no government, even, will interfere with this friendship. We are thankful for the support of the American administration to Israel in one of the most difficult moments of our history,” Lapid continued, addressing concerns about the U.S.-Israel relationship amid Democratic tensions over the war. 

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after huddling with the Israeli opposition leader later Monday that the two spoke at length “about what comes next” in the war in Gaza. 

Our priority now is to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” Cardin said. “We know some steps that were taken, but we’re trying to evaluate how effective that is.” 

Lapid returned to the Capitol on Tuesday for separate meetings with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the latter of whom visited Israel last month in a show of support. 

Schumer said in a statement that the two discussed “strengthening the bipartisan U.S.-Israel relationship, increasing humanitarian aid into Gaza, working for a deal for the release of the hostages, the path to long-term peace and a two-state solution, and passing the national security supplemental.”

Lapid’s visit comes at the same time as Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat’s trip to the U.S., which included meetings with a number of U.S. officials and lawmakers.

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