FOREIGN MINISTER KATZ:  First of all, you’re welcome here in your fifth meeting?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER KATZ:  to Israel this time.  And first of all, I want to thank President Biden and you personally and the Biden administration for all the ongoing support that you gave to Israel and are giving to Israel during all this war.  And as we say a lot of times, Israel don’t have a better friend and ally than the United States all over the world, and the United States don’t have a better friend than Israel in this area.

And we faced horrible slaughter in the south of Israel.  When we are saying that it’s like ISIS eliminated or that it’s Warsaw from the days of the Nazis, (inaudible) passed away for the Holocaust survivors, and I remember the stories.  It’s familiar, with all the brutal – the meaning of all this to do it, and they wanted to afraid us but they didn’t succeed.  We are united, with our allies, and inside Israel, the political, the government – we are united now and also in the society of Israel.

And we have to finish the war.  We have very brave and hero soldiers.  They know the dangers, but they are going in because they want to bring back the hostages, which is very, very important to us, and to bring back the security to our people, the civilians in the south.  And we’ll talk after the (inaudible) going in the north also, because we can’t let the people – they don’t want to go back now because of the situation, so we have to find a way, a diplomatic way, with a lot of pressure of Iran and Hizballah, to withdraw them far as we can to the (inaudible).  And the thing is to put a lot of pressure now to prevent war to more – between (inaudible) Israel in the civilian areas back near (inaudible) Lebanon, and no one wanted to.  And because of that, it’s very important to try to do everything now.

So again, thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Mr. Minister, it’s very, very good to be with you.  This is an incredibly challenging time.  And I just come, as you know, from a number of countries in the region.  I look forward to sharing with you some of what I heard from colleagues around the region.  I know your own efforts over many years to build much greater connectivity and integration in the Middle East, and I think there actually are real opportunities there.  But we have to get through this very challenging moment, to make sure that October 7th never happen again, and work to build a much different and much better future.  And of course, we’ll be also seeing hostage families later today, talking about the relentless efforts that we’re both doing to bring people home, to bring people back.

But I look forward to our conversation.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future