Bibi finally gets his Biden invite

US President Joe Biden has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (aka Bibi) to meet in the US sometime before the end of the year.

The invite comes amid a renewed push from Netanyahu’s government to curb the influence of Israel’s judiciary, after a public backlash prompted him to suspend those reform efforts back in March.

Opponents to the judicial overhaul haven’t given up. On Tuesday (yesterday), they organised another “day of disruption” in which protestors:

  • 🚧 Stopped traffic on major highways
  • ⛔ Blocked entrances at the Israeli military HQ in Tel Aviv, and
  • 📉 Briefly gate-crashed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

And Biden shares their concerns, calling on Netanyahu to “walk away” from the plan earlier this year, before this month describing Bibi’s cabinet as having some of “the most extreme” members in decades.

His decision to then initially extend an invite only to Israel’s president (a ceremonial role) was largely seen as a snub to Bibi.

Intrigue’s take: So, why the 180? It seems there’s no change in US policy towards Bibi’s reforms, nor in US concerns around members of Bibi’s coalition.

Rather, the US has probably assessed it needs to stabilise relations with its key Middle East ally, both to present a united front on Iran, and to curb the influence of China (which extended an invite to Bibi last month).

Also worth noting:

  • Washington has declined to say where the meeting will take place, with some speculating it’ll happen on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly rather than at the White House.
  • Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited the White House yesterday (Tuesday) and will address a joint session of the US Congress later today (Wednesday).
  • Netanyahu told Biden during a call on Monday (17 July) that the first part of Israel’s judicial overhaul will pass next week.
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