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Herzog downplays fissures in ‘unbreakable’ US-Israel relationship

Israeli President Isaac Herzog wrapped up a two-day visit to Washington on Wednesday with a speech that some progressive Democrats boycotted over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Israel Herzog

WASHINGTON — Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, used an address to Congress on Wednesday to reassure Washington about the resilience of Israel’s democracy and downplay tensions in its relationship with the United States. 

“To us it is clear that America is irreplaceable to Israel, and Israel is irreplaceable to America,” Herzog told a joint session of Congress, later referencing the “mutually beneficial partnership that has withstood challenges and weathered great disagreements.” 

Herzog addressed a packed House chamber as part of his two-day visit to Washington, in which he sought to lower tensions between the Biden administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in November was elected to lead Israel’s most right-wing and religiously conservative government in its history. 

Of primary concern to US officials is the judicial reform plan pushed by Netanyahu and his allies, which has set off sweeping street protests that have continued for months. Critics fear the proposed changes would weaken the independence of Israel’s courts and personally benefit Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption. 

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