Lapid denies change in policy as ministers meet with J Street

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid continued the policy of meeting with any member of Congress visiting Israel, a source close to the minister said, following reports that he broke the traditional government boycott of the Israel-focused progressive J Street lobby. .

J Street led a delegation of members of the United States Congress to the Knesset on Monday, where they met with Lapid, along with Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, Environmental Protection Minister, Tamar Zandberg, and the Minister of Public Security, Omer Bar-Lev. .

Chairperson of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Rosa Delauro (D-CT), Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Marc Pocan (D-WI), Mondair Jones (D- NY) and Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) met with ministers, with J Street Chairman Jeremy Ben-Ami present.

Lapid also met only with members of Congress.

Under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government had a policy of boycotting J Street.

However, Netanyahu would meet with members of Congress visiting Israel, even if they were with J Street.

A source close to Lapid presented the meeting in the same way, saying: “We meet with all members of Congress … We do not meet with the J Street board. This is not an endorsement by J Street or any organization. “

All US lawmakers voted to fund the Iron Dome missile defense batteries for Israel and said they see themselves as friends of Israel even though they are critical of its policies, the source emphasized.

Michaeli and Zandberg have spoken at J Street conferences in the past, but they did so as opposition lawmakers. Coalition deputies have also addressed J Street events, including those of the Likud, such as MK Tzachi Hanegbi in 2013.

However, cabinet ministers did not openly work with J Street.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, Chairman of J Street (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

J Street Israel CEO Nadav Tamir said the meeting “expressed the important link between the Democratic Party and the State of Israel.

“The willingness of the ministers to meet with members of Congress, some of whom are critical of part of Israel’s policies, shows the importance with which the Israeli government sees strengthening the dialogue with the Democratic Party that was abandoned during the mandate. of the Netanyahu government, “Tamir posted.

The meeting was conducted in a good mood, and even when there was criticism, it arose out of concern for Israel’s future, Tamir said.

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