House Speaker John Boehner will soon make his first trip to Israel in seven years, where he’ll meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose party won in Tuesday’s election.
“The speaker will visit Israel during the next district work period,” a spokesman said in a statement Friday. “He looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel."
The speaker’s office would not confirm the exact timing of the trip but the House is scheduled to break for the spring holidays beginning March 27.
This trip has been scheduled for months, the office notes, but it does come on the heels of the Israeli election during which Netanyahu easily claimed victory.
“Let me congratulate my friend, Benjamin Netanyahu on his party’s victory this week,” Boehner said at a press conference Thursday. “The prime minister recognizes the grave threats that we face from radical Islam and from Iran.”
Boehner laughed off a reporter’s characterization Thursday that the Obama administration had a “lukewarm” response to Netanyahu’s victory saying, “that’s the understatement of the day.”
President Barack Obama only called to congratulate the prime minister two days after his re-election.
Tensions have been high among Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu ever since the Israeli prime minister addressed a joint session of Congress on March 3 at the request of Boehner -- without consulting the White House before an invitation was extended.
“I am happy he came. I think he gave a forceful, very clear speech,” Boehner said Thursday.
The speaker looks forward to discussing issues of mutual interest and further strengthening ties between America and Israel during his trip, an aide said.