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Israel’s President Herzog will address Congress to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its statehood

by Joshua Brown
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Isaac Herzog Congress Address

On July 19, Israeli President Isaac Herzog is scheduled to address a joint session of the United States Congress, as part of the celebrations marking 75 years since Israel’s founding. This announcement was made by U.S. congressional leaders on Thursday, emphasizing the profound connection between the two nations.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stated that both nations benefit greatly from their mutual cooperation. He reminded people that the United States was the first country to acknowledge Israel’s statehood, just eleven minutes after its proclamation in 1948. The connection between the two countries has since grown stronger, he noted.

In May, McCarthy addressed the Knesset, marking the first time a sitting speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives had done so in a quarter of a century. This took place during a period of heightened tension between Israel’s government and U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Only one other Israeli president has addressed a joint meeting of Congress before, and that was Herzog’s father, President Chaim Herzog, over 35 years ago. The position of Israeli president primarily serves as a symbol of unity and a moral guide in a country known for its diversity and occasional division.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had the opportunity to address Congress three times, with his latest appearance in 2015 at the invitation of the Republican leaders. His speech criticizing then-President Barack Obama’s proposed nuclear pact with Iran greatly upset the White House and the Democratic leadership.

While Netanyahu and Biden have a longstanding relationship, they have clashed on several issues, including Netanyahu’s plans to reform Israel’s judiciary, viewed by many as a step towards authoritarianism, and his hard-line approach towards expanding West Bank settlements and punishing Palestinians. Netanyahu’s stances directly contradict Biden’s efforts to enhance U.S.-Palestinian relations.

Biden stated in March that he had no immediate plans to invite Netanyahu to the White House. In response, McCarthy asserted in May that he would extend an invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress if Biden chose not to.

Earlier this month, during an event hosted by the Israeli embassy, President Herzog expressed his desire for a visit to the White House to Vice President Kamala Harris and others via video link. The National Security Council, when asked about the potential visit, stated it had no announcements to make.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., had invited President Herzog to address Congress the previous year. Schumer, who met Herzog in Israel during a February visit, described him as a great leader who was particularly influential at the current time.

Schumer stated that inviting President Herzog to address a joint meeting of Congress demonstrated the longstanding bipartisan support for Israel in the U.S., which goes beyond party politics. He said he was looking forward to welcoming Herzog to the Capitol.

AP reporters Aamer Madhani and Zeke Miller have contributed to this report.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Isaac Herzog Congress Address

Who will be addressing the US Congress to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Israel’s statehood?

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will be addressing the US Congress to mark the 75th anniversary of Israel’s statehood.

When is President Isaac Herzog scheduled to address the US Congress?

President Isaac Herzog is scheduled to address the US Congress on July 19.

What did House Speaker Kevin McCarthy say about the relationship between the US and Israel?

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that both nations benefit greatly from their cooperation. He also mentioned that the US was the first to recognize Israel as an independent state after its declaration of independence in 1948.

Who was the last Israeli president to address a joint meeting of the US Congress?

The last Israeli president to address a joint meeting of the US Congress was President Chaim Herzog, father of the current President Isaac Herzog, more than 35 years ago.

Who invited President Isaac Herzog to address the Congress?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., had invited President Herzog to address Congress.

Has the Israeli Prime Minister ever addressed the US Congress?

Yes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed the US Congress three times, the most recent being in 2015.

What was the reaction to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last address to the US Congress?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in 2015, in which he criticized then-President Barack Obama’s proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, caused significant tension and upset within the White House and among Democratic leaders.

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