Biden Visits Israel Updates: Biden Celebrates 'Deep' U.S.-Israel Bond

Live Updates
  • President Joe Biden continued his trip to the Middle East Thursday as he met with Israeli leaders.
  • Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration to reaffirm the "unbreakable bonds" between their two countries.
  • During a joint press conference with Lapid, Biden said the U.S. is "not going to wait forever" for Iran to rejoin the nuclear deal and said the U.S. will make sure Iran never obtained nuclear weapons.
  • Biden also said the U.S. will continue to work towards a two-state solution to ensure lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
  • Biden also met with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and received the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor from Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony
Israel President Isaac Herzog (R) speaks ahead of presenting U.S. President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Honor at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

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Biden Celebrates 'Deep' U.S.-Israel Bond

After meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday, President Joe Biden celebrated the "deep bond" he said the U.S. has with Israel.

His comments about the U.S.-Israel friendship came as new polling indicated support for Biden among American voters has continued to drop. One new poll from CNBC found Biden's approval ratings dipped to a new low of 36 percent, while a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found 46 percent of voters said Biden should not run for re-election in 2024.

Biden on a scheduled visit this week to Israel, his first as President. In the first of a series of tweets posted Thursday, Biden addressed the nations' new strategic partnership, which he said was "based on a bedrock of shared values, our commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel's defense capabilities, and a true and enduring friendship."

A photo of Biden and Lapid sitting next to each other accompanied the tweet.

Later, Biden tweeted about a meeting he and Lapid had with leaders in India and the United Arab Emirates. The group's partnership has been called the I2U2.

"Together, the I2U2 will harness the vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit of our nations to tackle some of the greatest challenges confronting our world," Biden said, again sharing a photo of himself and Lapid as they attended the summit.

Biden went on to address his conversation with Herzog about "the U.S.' ironclad support for Israel's security and efforts to widen the circle of peace in the region" in a third tweet.

"I celebrate our nation's deep bond with Israel," Biden's tweet said.

Shireen Abu Akleh's Family Criticizes Biden

The family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist who died in May while reporting on an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank, said they want an in-person meeting with President Joe Biden and are "disappointed" in how his administration has responded thus far to her death.

A letter the family sent to Biden last week, a copy of which was obtained by The Intercept, said the family felt "a sense of betrayal concerning your administration's abject response" to Abu Akleh's death.

Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist's niece, wrote in an opinion column published by Al Jazeera that the family wants to meet with Biden during his visit to the occupied West Bank.

Biden "should sit down with us to discuss what his administration can do to hold my aunt's killer accountable," Abu Akleh's niece wrote.

The U.S. State Department has said it "could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed" Abu Akleh but noted the U.S. Security Coordinator "concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible" for her death.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has separately said the bullet "came from Israeli forces."

Abu Akleh's niece told CBS News on Wednesday that the family was "disappointed" that the Biden administration "wouldn't take this matter seriously and that they wouldn't hold Israel accountable."

The family wants Biden "to hear personally our demands, our concerns and our calls for accountability and justice," she said.

Watch: Biden Attends Maccabiah Games

President Joe Biden is set to attend the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem Thursday evening. Biden is expected to greet the U.S. athletes and view the ceremony, beginning at 7:45 p.m. local time.

Watch live here or below:

Iran Issues Strong Warning to U.S., Israel

While President Joe Biden meets with Israeli leaders over concerns of Iranian nuclear armament, the Iranian president issued a strong warning to the U.S. and Israel

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said there would be a "harsh and regrettable response" to any actions taken against the Islamic Republic.

Both the U.S. and Israel reiterated their position that Iran cannot obtain nuclear weapons Thursday. While Biden said this should be achieved through diplomacy, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the only thing that will stop the threat from Iran is force. Lapid said Iran will "pay a heavy price" if the regime does not cooperate in ongoing nuclear talks.

Raisi blamed the U.S. and "its regional allies" for stirring up instability in the region, according to state-run news.

"Any mistake by the Americans and their allies in the region and the world will be met with a harsh and regrettable response," Raisi said.

Despite Biden and Lapid's call for peace among neighbors in the Middle East, Raisi said Israel "can never have normal relations in the region."

Biden, Israeli Leaders
President Joe Biden is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, right and President Isaac Herzog, left, as they participate in an arrival ceremony after Biden arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Tel Aviv. Evan Vucci/AP Photo

U.S. Won't 'Wait Forever' on Iran

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the U.S. is "not going to wait forever" for Iran to return to the nuclear deal.

Biden and Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid discussed Iran during a news conference in Jerusalem that followed a meeting between the two leaders. Lapid said he and Biden are in agreement that Iran must not be a nuclear power, though the Associated Press reported there were differences in their rhetoric on the subject.

Biden said it is his view that diplomacy "is the best way" to convince Iran to rejoin the nuclear deal, according to the AP. Lapid disagreed, saying diplomacy will not work.

"Words will not stop them, Mr. President. Diplomacy will not stop them. The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program the free world will use force," Lapid said, according to a summation of his comments shared on the prime minister's website.

"The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table," Lapid said. He went on to say Iran "must know that if they continue to deceive the world, they will pay a heavy price."

Biden reiterated that the U.S. and Israel "will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon." He said the U.S. had presented Iran with a plan for how they could rejoin the nuclear deal but suggested that plan would not be available to them indefinitely, according to the AP.

Biden said he is "not certain" when the U.S. will receive an answer from Iran and added, "But we're not going to wait forever."

Joe Biden and Yair Lapid press conference
President Joe Biden (L) and Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid give a joint press conference in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. ATEF SAFADI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Biden Receives Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor

Israeli President Isaac Herzog bestowed U.S. President Joe Biden with the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest honor the President of Israel can give.

After a private meeting, Herzog and Biden shared remarks before several U.S. and Israeli officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Herzog noted the importance of a strong U.S.-Israel partnership amid "challenges to the world order," including the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

This steadfast partnership is essential to ensuring that peace and democracy prevail not only in the Middle East, but around the world, Herzog said.

The U.S. and Israel have committed to creating a "new and renewable" Middle East. Herzog said the two nations will continue to work to transform the region from a source of global tension to a source of global peace and innovation.

Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony
Israel President Isaac Herzog (R) speaks ahead of presenting U.S. President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Honor at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

He also said he hopes Biden brings a message of peace and hope on his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Herzog gifted Biden with a document of the minutes from his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir 50 years ago.

In the notes, an official marked then-Senator Biden's respect, admiration and "great enthusiasm."

Biden said his love for Israel is "deep-rooted," as he worked for five decades to build this solid relationship.

Seeing Israel "thrive" and seeing the dreams of its founders "grow into reality" is "close to miraculous," Biden said.

He called Israel a "leader" in the region and noted that Israel is growing more secure, integrated, confident and building great relationships with its neighbors. Biden said Israel will "never dwell alone" as long as the United States is around.

Biden closed by noting the U.S. and Israel's shared foundation of "hope, grit and determination," saying that both nations remain true to their founding values in order to "make peace happen."

Before awarding Biden with the Presidential Medal of Honor, Herzog said it was a recognition of Biden's enduring support to Israel and the "depth of friendship" between the two nations.

Herzog said Biden is a "true friend" to the state of Israel, the people of Israel and the Jewish people. Biden earned this honor because of his commitment to bolstering Israel's security, strengthening the U.S-Israel relationship and fighting against anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment, Herzog said.

Biden Receives Medal of Honor
Israels President Isaac Herzog (R) presents US President Joe Biden (L) with the Presidential Medal of Honor from at the Presidential residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. MANDEL NGAN//AFP via Getty Images

Watch Biden Receive Medal of Honor

President Joe Biden is expected to receive the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor on Thursday during his visit to Israel.

The medal will be given during a reception Biden is attending alongside Israel President Isaac Herzog. The Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony is expected to begin at 11:20 a.m. ET.

The White House is streaming the reception live on the White House website and YouTube channel.

Biden Meets with Israeli President Herzog

President Joe Biden is meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog Thursday.

Biden first signed the guest book at Herzog's residence.

Biden Signs Herzog Guest Book
Israeli President Isaac Herzog watches as President Joe Biden signs a guest book as he arrives at the Israeli President's residence Thursday, July 14, 2022, in Jerusalem. Evan Vucci/AP Photo

He joked about his and Herzog's shared Irish heritage, according to pool reports.

Biden shared the Israeli President's ties to Ireland with the pool of reporters. He said Herzog's grandfather was the chief rabbi of Ireland and joked that "he was called the Sinn Fein Rabbi."

Herzog's father, Chaim Herzog, was born in Belfast and served as an Ambassador to the United Nations before being elected as President of Israel in 1983.

Herzog joked that it is "a great day for the Irish today."

Biden and Herzog then posed for photos with a group of children waving American and Israeli flags.

The two leaders are set to deliver joint remarks at a press event at Herzog's residence soon.

Biden, Herzog Flags
US President Joe Biden (C-L) and Israeli President Isaac Herzog (C-R) poses for a picture with children waving the American and Israeli flags upon his arrival to the Presidential residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. ( MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

U.S., Israel Reaffirm 'Unbreakable Bonds'

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration Thursday to reaffirm the "unbreakable bonds" between their two countries.

The partnership included a renewed commitment to security on moral and strategic ground.

The U.S. "reiterates its steadfast commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats," according to a joint statement.

The U.S. noted its support for implementing the $38 billion Memoranda of Understanding on security assistance.

Biden and Lapid both promised to never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

The U.S. also noted its support for implementing the $38 billion Memoranda of Understanding on security assistance to bolster Israel's security and defense systems and for broadening the Abraham Accords.

The two countries also pledged to combat efforts to de-legitimize Israel, reject antisemitism and condemn terrorists attacks against Israeli citizens.

Biden reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution to ensure peace and prosperity between Israel and Palestine.

Biden, Lapid Joint Declaration
US President Joe Biden (L) and Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, smile after signing a security pledge in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2022. Atef SAFADI / POOL/AFP via Getty Images