WASHINGTON (AP) – The new leaders of the United States and Israel have inherited a relationship that is threatened by increasingly partisan internal political views and a strong recognition that they need each other.
How President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett manage that relationship will determine the prospects for peace and stability in the Middle East.
They are ushering in an era that is no longer defined by the powerful personality of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu, who repeatedly defied the Barack Obama administration and later reaped the rewards of a warm relationship with President Donald Trump.
The Bennett administration says it wants to improve relations with Democrats and restore bipartisan support for Israel in the United States. Meanwhile, Biden is taking a more balanced approach to the Palestinian conflict and Iran.
The relationship is important for both the countries. Israel has long viewed the United States as its closest ally and guarantor of its security and international standing, while Washington relies on Israeli military and intelligence prowess in a troubled Middle East.
But both Biden and Bennett are also constrained by domestic politics.
Bennett leads a precarious coalition of eight parties from Israel’s political spectrum, the main point of which was to remove Netanyahu from power after 12 years. Biden is struggling to bridge the gap in his party, where nearly equal support for Israel has eroded and a progressive wing wants the United States to end its half-century occupation of Israel less than the Palestinians. Do more They want for the future state.
Shortly after taking office, Israel’s new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid recognized the challenges facing Israel in Washington.
“We get the White House, Senate and House Democrats and they are angry,” Lapid said a week ago. “We need to change the way we work with them.”
An important test will be Iran. Biden wants America to return to the nuclear deal signed by Obama and was unknown to Trump. The new Israeli government is opposed to restarting the deal, but has said it will discuss the issue behind closed doors.
Cross reported from Jerusalem.