Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will separately host Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday as he visits DC in the wake of in-fighting among Democrats over whether to pay for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) is hosting Lapid around 12:45 on Capitol Hill and Harris will host Lapid around 3:45 p.m. in the White House-adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The Israeli leader is in DC, in part, for meetings with his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates to discuss cooperation under the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords, which resulted in the UAE and Bahrain normalizing relations with Israel.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will convene “a trilateral setting” with Lapid and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al Nahyan, the State Department said.
“They will discuss progress made since the signing of the Abraham Accords last year, future opportunities for collaboration, and bilateral issues including regional security and stability,” according to Blinken’s press office.
The Trump administration’s Abraham Accords, pushed by then-first son-in-law Jared Kushner, resulted in Israel gaining recognition from four Arab states. Previously, just Egypt and Jordan had recognized Israel.
The recent struggle in Congress over Israel broke out because a group of progressive Democrats forced a $1 billion US taxpayer contribution to Israel to be stripped from a larger bill, saying they disapproved of Israel’s conduct toward Palestinians.
The aid would replenish Israel’s defensive arsenal after it was depleted in May when radical group Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel, many indiscriminately lobbed toward civilian areas.
In response to negative coverage, red-faced Democratic Party leaders quickly took up and passed a standalone bill approving $1 billion for the Iron Dome system. The funds passed the House 420-9 last month. Eight left-wing Democrats voted against it, as did Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who said foreign aid would “bankrupt our country.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared to cry on the House floor before voting “present,” breaking with her fellow “Squad” members, who voted against the funds.
President Biden is not scheduled to meet with Lapid. Biden will remain out of public view Tuesday after a closed-door morning virtual meeting of G20 leaders called to discuss mopping up after the messy US withdrawal from Afghanistan.