President of Israel will address the US Congress on July 19
According to congressional leaders, Israeli President Isaac Herzog will speak to a joint session of the US Congress on July 19 to mark the 75th anniversary of Israel’s statehood and to reaffirm his country’s unique relationship with the US.
The announcement from Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, of California, stated that cooperation between America and Israel benefits the entire world. “The US was the first to recognize the state of Israel eleven minutes after it declared its independence in 1948, and today, we continue to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two democracies.”
In May, McCarthy spoke before the Israeli parliament.
It took place during a time of tense relations between the Israeli government and President Joe Biden, and it was the first time in 25 years that a sitting speaker of the House addressed Israel’s Knesset.
McCarthy pointed out that more than 35 years ago, Herzog’s father, President Chaim Herzog, was the only other Israeli president to address a joint session of Congress.
In a multicultural and frequently polarised nation, the Israeli presidency is a largely ceremonial position intended to act as a unifying force and moral compass.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed Congress three times, most recently in 2015 when he accepted an invitation from Republican leaders to speak out against the impending nuclear deal between Iran and the United States.
The White House and other Democratic leaders were outraged by the speech.
When Obama was vice president at the time, Biden would have typically sat behind the Israeli prime minister for those remarks, but he was away on business.
Netanyahu, who took office again in December, has known Biden for a very long time.
The two have, however, disagreed over Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, which some believe would be a step towards authoritarianism, as well as his hard-line government’s plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and take punitive action against the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s stance is entirely at odds with Biden’s efforts to improve US-Palestinian relations.
In March, Biden stated that there were no immediate plans to invite Netanyahu to the White House.
McCarthy stated in May that if Biden doesn’t address Congress, he will invite Netanyahu to do so.
Herzog was invited to address Congress last year by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. During a visit to Israel in February, Schumer met with Herzog.
Schumer said, “I look forward to welcoming him to the Capitol. This invitation to speak at a joint meeting of Congress is a testament to the decades of bipartisan and bicameral support for Israel that transcends party politics.”