Finance Minister Yair Lapid met on Thursday at the White House with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Lapid is visiting Washington, D.C. for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. The two were joined by Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and White House Middle East Coordinator Phil Gordon.
“In a wide ranging conversation, the Vice President and Minister Lapid discussed Israel’s economy as well as regional issues, including recent developments with regard to Iran, Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, and the importance of strengthened economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” said a readout of the meeting released by the White House.
Lapid reportedly presented to the Vice President Israel's position in regards to the recent “smile attack" by Iran’s president, and stressed the importance of testing Iran through actions and not by words.
He also repeated the Israeli government's commitment to promote an agreement with the Palestinian Authority and reiterated that he, as well as his entire Yesh Atid party, were determined to bring such an agreement.
Earlier this week, Lapid said in an interview that Israel does not need the PA to recognize that it is a Jewish State.
Lapid said that his father, Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, had not arrived from a ghetto in Budapest to the city of Haifa, "in order to demand recognition from the side of Mahmoud Abbas."
Lapid’s remarks are in contrast to the policy of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has made recognition of Israel as a Jewish State an underlying principle for negotiations with the PA. Netanyahu has never backed down from this demand.
At the beginning of the week, while delivering a robust speech at Bar Ilan University, the Prime Minister placed the demand for recognition as a central theme in his handling of negotiations.
Netanyahu said failure to have this demand met could place Israel in a situation with a Palestinian State to its side, and a large Arab population inside Israel - a result of PA demands that Israel allow descendants of Arabs who fled Israel to "return" - threatening to undermine its character as a Jewish state.