White House visit underscores strong U.S.-Israel ties

President Trump welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House to discuss peace and security this week.

Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, joined the president and first lady Melania Trump before meetings in the Oval Office and a working lunch. The two leaders spoke of plans for the U.S. to establish an embassy in Jerusalem and the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

They also spoke of Iran’s threat to regional stability. Netanyahu said, “If I had to say what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East — to both our countries, to our Arab neighbors — it’s encapsulated in one word: Iran.”

The March 5 visit was Netanyahu’s first to the U.S. since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and future home of the U.S. Embassy in December 2017. “Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people throughout the ages,” Netanyahu said.

On March 4, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced his country’s embassy would also relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way,” Morales said. “His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right.”

At the White House, Trump spoke of his enduring friendship with Israel. “I think we’re as close now as, maybe, ever before,” Trump said. “Israel is very special to me.”