PRESIDENT HERZOG:  So first of all, thank you, Mr. Secretary.  We hosted you in Israel and we hosted President Biden in Israel, and I want to be – I want to be very – I want to express my gratitude to the administration, to the President, to you, for reciprocating so beautifully.  And with a visit of mine and the invitation to bring me here, we have so much to discuss.

The relationship between Israel and United States are strong as ever, and I want to thank the administration for its unique support.  And President Biden, who I hope to see tomorrow, is a great friend of Israel, and I will express my gratitude to him.

I want to thank your administration and yourself and your team for pursuing the border deal, the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon.  I want to thank you for your support of Israel in the international foras.

We will be discussing, you and I as well as my discussions with the administration, the challenges that Iran poses to us and to humanity at large.  Our hearts go out to the people of Iran.  The women of Iran are oppressed and attacked day in, day out, and I will be exposing more of the fact that Iran – that the Iranian weapons are used against civilians, innocent civilians in Ukraine.

We will discuss the integration of Israel in the region, your support of the implementation of the Abraham Accords, as well as the potential openings for Israel in the region in so many facets, and finally, of course, various challenges that we both face in the international arena regarding the legitimization of Israel and many other things.

So thank you very much for your friendship, and on behalf of the people of Israel I say to you shalom ve-toda.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you, Mr. President, so much.  It’s wonderful to have you here.  I deeply appreciated your hospitality when I visited with the President, in particular appreciated the hospitality when we needed it, and we wanted to return it, although I think I’m actually your guest today here.  But it’s wonderful to be with you, and your visit is quite simply a powerful symbol of the enduring partnership between Israel and the United States, a partnership that, as you know and as you just said, President Biden has been committed to since his very first days in public service and in elected office.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  True.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We have done very good and very important work together over the last – for the last couple of years, including the work that you just alluded to.  The truly historic agreement between Lebanon and Israel on the maritime demarcation is something that offers the prospect of profound economic benefits to Israel and to Lebanon alike in terms of the resources that lie under the ocean, but also as a way of making peace and stability an enduring feature of the relationship, not conflict.

The work that we’ve been doing to try to deepen and expand the Abraham Accords, the normalization of Israel’s relationship with its neighbors and with countries even beyond its immediate neighborhood, is important and powerful, and we’re committed to doing that.  I had the great experience of taking part in the Negev summit not so long ago.  We’ll continue in those efforts.

And of course, as you said, we are standing together against the dangerous, destabilizing, and terrorizing actions that Iran is taking in the region and, as you’ve noted, well beyond the region.  The provision of drones by Iran to Russia to enable its further aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is showing horrific results on the ground in Ukraine, and it’s something that we are determined to stand against even as we also work against the other actions that Iran is taking closer to home.

And of course, we have other matters to talk about, including the real concern that we have about the violence that we’re seeing on the West Bank, and we’re urging everyone to take the necessary steps to try to de-escalate that violence and to avoid actions or statements that may incite it.

So there’s a lot – lots to be discussed, but mostly we’re delighted to have you here, and I know the President is looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.  Welcome.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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