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Netanyahu Says He Will Meet With DeSantis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida when he travels to Israel this week, the prime minister said on Sunday.

“Of course I’ll meet with everyone. Why not? I meet with Republican governors and Democratic governors,” Netanyahu said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’d meet with every American representative, governor, senator, members of Congress. And I think it’s — it’s my job. And I think it’s important for Israel’s bipartisan support in the United States. I make a point of it.”

DeSantis will travel to Israel on Thursday, according to an announcement from his office. There he’ll meet with Israeli government officials and deliver a keynote address at an event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The trip, which will also include stops in Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, is billed as an international trade mission. It comes as the Florida governor is gearing up for a likely presidential campaign launch.

DeSantis will be abroad from April 24 to April 28, starting in Japan and wrapping up in the United Kingdom.

The visit comes amid a rise in sectarian violence, and as tensions continue to build over Netanhayu’s efforts to pass legislation that would limit the power of his nation’s judiciary. The country’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu paused his attempt to push through those changes after backlash from the public and members of his own administration. Last week, he said he did not immediately plan to resume those efforts, but that has not stopped the monthslong public protests in the country.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that he believed there was still wide support for judicial reforms but disagreement over what exactly those should look like.

“Well, I think there’s a broad consensus that we have to make corrections in our judicial system,” he said. “There’s obviously a dramatic difference between the views of how, to what extent and so on. But I think they should not cloud the fact that we’re celebrating here a modern miracle, Israel’s 75th anniversary.”

The attempted judicial overhaul drew rebuke from international leaders, including President Joe Biden. Earlier this month, Biden said that he was “very concerned” about Israeli democracy, and that he hoped Netanyahu “walks away from” his plans to limit the independence and authority of the judiciary. On Sunday, Netanyahu said he didn’t think the judicial plans would impede his relationship with the U.S.

“I value the alliance with the United States. And I value the friendship I’ve had over 40 years with President Biden,” he said. “I don’t think anything will get in that way. But it’s an internal matter that we have to resolve.”

Netanyahu was a close ally of former President Donald Trump when he was in office, during which time Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv — a move seen as a slight to Palestinians living in the region.