Video: Israel National News

Israel's President Isaac Herzog met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Foreign Minister Lapid held a joint press conference welcoming Blinken to the region.

Herzog welcomed Blinken to Israel, telling him, "Your visit means a lot to us and we welcome you wholeheartedly here in Jerusalem, and [thank you] for joining the...Negev Summit later today, which will include foreign ministers from regional states that are so important to this unified front being built in the region, based on the Abraham Accords and moving forward in peace and mutual cooperation and respect."

“I want to commend Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for convening this summit and wish him success in this very important gathering. We will work together to find further regional cooperation and for the benefit of all peoples in the region and for the benefit of peace, and of course preventing any threats against Israel, as well as my own personal commitment to move forward and try to help in all relevant cooperation and activities that we are pushing forward together with our friends and allies in this region. I would conclude by saying, Mr. Secretary, that we welcome you here not only because you are a friend but also because the United States is Israel’s most important ally and closest friend in the world. We see you as friends and part of the family. Thank you very much," continued Herzog.

Herzog and Blinken
Herzog and Blinken Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

The President welcomed all the participants to the summit in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

“It’s wonderful to be here, in this very special place, it’s also an honor. To your point, this evening when we head to the Negev, what is happening there is something that I think would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. What we’re seeing is normalization becoming the new normal for this region and I think it’s going to attract more and more countries as they see the benefits of these partnerships among so many of the leading countries of the region," said Blinken.

“The United States is very proud to be a part of that, to support the efforts to deepen the partnerships with countries that have already normalized with Israel, and to help seek new partners, and to make sure that as we’re working together, we’re doing it in a way of course that stands up for our common security, because we face common challenges, but also finds ways to make meaningful differences in the lives of our citizens, and that’s the tremendous opportunity of what is coming together in the Negev later today," he continued.

“The opportunity to work together, invest together, in infrastructure, in global health, in dealing with climate change, renewable energy, bringing our businesses together, bringing our people together. It’s an incredibly powerful and positive vision for the future and Israel is making that real, and I applaud that."

“For me it’s always especially wonderful and meaningful to be in Israel. The United States has a deep attachment to this country, to this relationship, to this partnership, to this alliance. We have a sacrosanct commitment to Israel’s security. President Biden reaffirmed that again recently with the provision of $1bn toward Iron Dome, something that has saved lives in the past and if necessary will do so again in the future. And I will just say simply, concluding, it’s very meaningful to me on a personal level as well, so thank you," concluded Blinken.

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