Sep 28, 2022
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US House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the “strong” ties between their two nations on Wednesday, despite heightened tensions between the prime minister and the White House.

In Israel to lead a bipartisan congressional delegation visiting Middle Eastern allies, Boehner arrived in Jerusalem ahead of other lawmakers and met with Netanyahu. Both leaders made a brief joint statement before meeting in private and refused to directly comment on the ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran.

Boehner hailed ties between Israel and the US, saying bilateral relations were “as strong as ever.” He added that throughout his visit across the Middle East, “the message is the same – you can’t continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face us all.”

Earlier this year, the House Speaker set off an international firestorm when he invited Netanyahu to speak before Congress regarding Iran without officially notifying the White House. The invitation led to a further breakdown of ties between Netanyahu and Obama.

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“Our two countries cooperate on many different levels. While we may have political disagreements from time to time, the bonds between our two nations are strong, and they’re going to continue to be strong,” Boehner stated.

The prime minister, who earlier on Wednesday urged western powers to take a tougher stance with the Islamic Republic, solely addressed Israel’s ties with the US.

Netanyahu expressed his hope that “in this violent and unstable region, where states are imploding and fanaticism is exploding, on thing remains rock solid – our friendship, our alliance, our partnership.”

“It makes both our countries stronger; it makes both our countries safer,” Netanyahu said. “And it’s the anchor for our shared hopes for peace and stability in this region.”

The prime minister made clear that all of Israel knows they have “no better friend in the world than the United States of America, and the American people should know they have no better friend in the world than the State of Israel.”

Speaking right before Boehner arrived, Netanyahu called on world leaders to acknowledge the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program and its path to acquiring a nuclear bomb.

“Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes doesn’t square with Iran’s insistence on keeping underground nuclear facilities, advanced centrifuges and a heavy water reactors,” he said. “Nor does it square with Iran’s insistence on developing ICBMs and its refusal to come clean with the IAEA on its past weaponization efforts.”

WATCH: Statement by Netanyahu and Boehner