By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — July 13, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed US President Joe Biden in a state ceremony at Ben-Gurion International Airport today in the presence of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ministers, and additional dignitaries.
Prime Minister Lapid greeted President Biden at the foot of Air Force One together with President Herzog and Alternate Prime Minister Bennett.
Following are Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s comments at the state welcoming ceremony:
“Mr. President, this is both a historic visit, and a deeply personal one.
It is historic because it expresses the unbreakable bond between our two countries. Our commitment to shared values: democracy, freedom, and the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own.
It is also a personal visit, because your relationship with Israel has always been personal. You once defined yourself as a Zionist. You said that you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.
You were right, and in your case: A great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.
You have not been here for a few years, so in the next couple of days, you will see how Israel has grown and developed. You will see the strength and smartness of the Israeli army, the creativity of the start-up nation, the diversity of Israeli society.”
Lapid continued: “Israel is a country that brings together the past, present, and future. Just moments ago, your plane flew over where King Saul searched for his father’s donkeys, above King David’s rooftop, above the palm tree that Deborah the prophet sat under.
You also flew over world-leading hi-tech industries, over agriculture that is helping improve food security around the globe, above universities and research institutes where Israeli scientists — including Nobel Prize winners — are leading groundbreaking research.
During your visit, we will discuss matters of national security.”
Prime Minister Lapid concluded: “We will discuss building a new security and economy architecture with the nations of the Middle East, following the Abraham Accords and the achievements of the Negev Summit. And we will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will stop the Iranian nuclear program.
There will be time for all of that. Right now, we are simply happy to see you, Mr. President. The simple, genuine joy brought by seeing a good friend once again.
Mr. President, Welcome to Israel.”