In Brief: President Herzog heads to Washington to firm up US-Israel bond

Israeli president Isaac Herzog > Elad Brami, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, has flown to Washington today in an effort to bridge the growing gap between the Netanyahu government and Biden administration.

The trip, Herzog’s second since Biden became president, comes before prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had even received his first invitation to meet with Biden since he returned to power in December 2022.

That invitation finally came hours before Herzog’s flight, alongside a White House statement outlining the Biden administration’s concerns around the policies of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government, particularly its proposed judicial reforms.

“Obviously the prime minister has been snubbed, but the administration is still signalling its deep support for Israel for the long term by inviting the president [now] instead of the prime minister,” opined Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank.

Before taking off, Herzog – who has acted as a mediator over the judicial reforms in recent months – called on MKs and activists to compromise on the coalition’s proposals.

“It simply requires effort, it requires giving up a little, it requires entering the room. It doesn’t have to be in the president’s house, it can also be behind the scenes in the Knesset. Make an effort, the price is too great.”