‘The Ban is Over’: Israeli Defense Minister to meet counterpart in Washington

The two defense officials last met in Brussels in June.

By JNS

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will meet with his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington later this month.

The two men previously met in Brussels in June and before that in March during Austin’s visit to Israel.

The past meetings focused primarily on countering the Iranian threat, expanding the Abraham Accords and strengthening U.S.-Israel military cooperation.

“During the visit, Minister Gallant will meet with additional senior U.S. officials to discuss security challenges and opportunities in the Middle East,” his office said on Sunday.

Gallant traveled to the United States in August for meetings at the United Nations in New York, including with Secretary-General António Guterres, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf and National Security Council Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk.

Gallant’s trip will mark the end to an unofficial “ban” on Israeli ministers traveling to Washington imposed by Netanyahu because he had not been invited to the White House.

Nine months after assuming office, Netanyahu met with U.S. President Joe Biden last month on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly annual general debate.

The two leaders discussed a prospective Israel-Saudi normalization deal, Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, the strength and resilience of Israel’s democracy and enhancing bilateral ties.

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Biden invited Netanyahu to visit Washington sometime by the end of the year.