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In Biden meeting, Rivlin clears way for Bennett visit to White House

In his warm meeting with President Joe Biden, President Reuven Rivlin prepared the ground for an upcoming first visit in Washington by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Doug Mills/New York Times/Getty Images

Reuven Rivlin and Joe Biden have known each other for 50 years. They first met in Jerusalem in 1971 when Rivlin served as deputy to the city’s legendary Mayor Teddy Kollek and Biden was a local Delaware politician planning a Senate run the following year. Rivlin took Biden on a wide-ranging tour of Jerusalem and apparently imbued him with some of his endless love for the city in which he was born. They have been friends since. They are contemporaries. Rivlin took part in the realization of the Zionist vision as Biden looked on in admiration. Biden made his famous remark about not having to be Jewish to be a Zionist in one of his meetings with Rivlin.

The friendship came full circle this week with the two presidents meeting at the White House. Biden, who took office this year, seems to offer an antidote to the chaos wrought by former President Donald Trump. Rivlin, who leaves office July 9, came to pave the way for a White House visit by Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who replaced former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeks to establish calmer governance. According to meeting participants, Rivlin achieved his goal.

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