Vice President Biden arrived in Israel on Tuesday to patch up, again, relations between the Obama White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a very public and deeply partisan spat over the Iran nuclear deal last year.
The vice president will meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday when the two will work to advance long-running talks between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office over a new multibillion-dollar, 10-year military-aid package.
The trip is also something of a last lap for Biden, who Israelis embrace as having been a stalwart friend during his many years in the Senate and the White House. As for President Obama? Israelis have been more “meh,” a sentiment stoked by Netanyahu’s aggressive opposition to Obama’s Iran deal.
Biden came briefly to Israel for the funeral of former prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2014. This trip is Biden’s first state visit to Israel since a diplomatic disaster in 2010, when Israel announced during his visit construction plans in the Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem — the same settlements that successive U.S. administrations have branded as “illegitimate” and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.