US bipartisan delegation refuses to meet with Ben-Gvir, Smotrich
According to Israeli media the US Senate group visiting "Israel" are part of Abraham Accords lobby and requested not to see the ministers.
US senators that are on a visit to "Israel" have informed the government that they will be not meeting with representatives from Religious Zionism parties Otzma Yehudit, Israeli Walla! media outlet reported on Tuesday.
According to the news site citing a US source and two Israeli officials, the bipartisan American delegation is part of a Senate lobby to push for the so-called Abraham Accords" and "Israel" will be the group's last stop in the Middle East, in a tour that included Bahrain, UAE, and Morocco.
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Democrat Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen, and Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, are heading the delegation along with three Democrats and two Republicans, the site noted.
The delegation will reportedly be meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, then the speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana, and former prime minister and current opposition leader Yair Lapid.
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The group will also meet Knesset members part of the Abraham Accords lobby, Walla said.
According to sources in Rosen's office, the US Senator requested not to meet Israeli ministers like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the report said, adding that sources from the foreign ministry confirmed that the meetings will not take place.
In response to the report, Lapid tweeted: “It is time to accept the facts: With a government of racists and extremists, the US is no longer Israel’s closest ally.”
It's noteworthy that Israeli Walla! news agency reported last November that the Biden administration does not expect to work with the head of the Otzma Yehudit party, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, if he was elected as a minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's new government.
The report states that the US administration's refusal to work with Ben-Gvir may represent a "decisive development in relations between Israel and the US" and will inevitably result in immense "negative consequences" on relations between Washington and "Tel Aviv".