Saturday, June 19th | 9 Tammuz 5781

June 1, 2021 3:12 pm

Israeli Defense Minister Gantz to Make Snap White House Visit to Talk Iran, US Military Aid

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting of the new government, at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, May 24, 2020. Photo: Abir Sultan / Pool via Reuters / File.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will make a snap visit to the US on Thursday for talks with the White House, the ministry said.

Gantz is expected to meet with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to discuss the Iran nuclear issue.

Also on the agenda will be the just-finished Operation Guardian of the Walls against the Gaza-based terror group Hamas, regional issues, and Israeli acquisition of military materiel from the US.

Gantz, who will be the highest ranking Israeli official to visit the White House thus far, will reportedly also discuss the aftermath of Guardian of the Walls, including a possible prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, the reconstruction of Gaza, the strengthening of the Iran Dome defense system, and tensions on Israel’s northern border

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Israel news site Walla reported that the US is concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who now appears to be on the brink of losing his position to a “change government” — may attack Iran in order to stay in office.

According to an Axios report, Israel will ask the US for $1 billion in emergency aid in order to replace the Iron Dome interceptors used in Guardian of the Walls and to purchase precision-guided munitions from the US.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham — who met on Monday with both Gantz and Netanyahu in Jerusalem — told Fox News, “There is going to be a request made by the Israelis to the Pentagon on Thursday for $1 billion in aid to replenish Iron Dome batteries. It will be a good investment for the American people. I will make sure in the Senate that they get the money.”

Gantz also appeared to take a swipe at Netanyahu on Tuesday, after the prime minister said that the Iranian nuclear program had to be stopped, even at the expense of Israel’s relationship with the US.

“The US has been and will continue to be Israel’s most important ally, protecting Israel’s security and its qualitative edge in the region,” Gantz tweeted. “The Biden administration is a true friend of Israel, and Israel doesn’t have nor will it ever have a greater partner than the United States.”

“Even if differences arise, they will be resolved through direct dialogue, behind closed doors, not through provocative statements that serve to harm Israeli security,” he added.

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