“We are proud to be America’s closest partner and friend,” Herzog said at a joint session of the US Senate and House of Representatives in Washington. The United States, in turn, is Israel’s “best partner and friend.”
Herzog was greeted by the deputies with prolonged applause. Among other things, he thanked the United States for its military aid over the past decades. This enabled the state of Israel, founded 75 years ago, to “defend itself”.
At the same time, Herzog also acknowledged differences of opinion and discord between the governments of both countries. “Israel and the United States will inevitably disagree on many issues,” the leader said. “But we will always be a family.”
The partnership between Israel and the United States has “overcome challenges and major disagreements because it is not based on a uniform approach, but on the most important currency, trust,” stressed Herzog.
Herzog, whose position in Israel is largely symbolic, is the second Israeli president, after his father, Chaim Herzog, to address Congress. While his speech officially marked Israel’s 75th anniversary, he also indirectly addressed the deep unease in President Joe Biden’s administration over the highly controversial overhaul of Israel’s judicial system, the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, and other issues.
“It’s no secret that the Israeli population has been conducting a heated and painful debate for months,” said the head of state on the controversial judicial reform. But this is a clear sign of “the strength of Israeli democracy”. At the same time, he emphasized that Israel’s democracy has always been based on a “strong and independent judiciary.”
uh/sti (afp, ap)