(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 29 May 2013), met with US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and made the following remarks at the start of the meeting: "Senator, I would like to welcome you as a great friend of Israel. You did it again. Your bill supporting Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat
was passed by an amazing majority, I think 99 to 0. Very few people can accomplish something like that and it’s the second time you’ve done it, because you’ve also had the important sanctions bill. And we know that you stand with us, as do the American people and the American Government, the American congress, against the greatest security threat of our time, which is Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. I think it’s the greatest security threat to the United States, to the free world and to international peace. And these are our two goals: security and peace. On peace, we applaud Secretary Kerry’s efforts. I stand ready to resume negotiations immediately, and I think there’s an abiding interest to achieve a secure peace. And we’re prepared to get on with it. The one thing that unites all Israelis: the support and friendship of the United States. It’s very strong because of people like you. Thank you."
Senator Menendez said: "And for twenty years, as a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate and now as the Chairman of the Center Foreign Relations Committee, I’ve always asked two questions in terms of the US foreign policy abroad: What is in the national interest of the United States? What is in the national security interest of the United States? And the answer to those questions, for myself, I’ve always dictated my views, my advocacy and my votes. And for 20 years I’ve answered that question as it relates to the Middle East that it’s in the national interest and the national security of the United States to have a strong, unwavering relationship with the State of Israel – a true democracy in a very tough part of the world; a major security ally of the United States; a major trade partner of the United States; and a country most likely to be voting in common cause with us in international parts. I haven’t changed those views as the Chairman of the Center Foreign Relations Committee. I continue to hold them, and I do agree with you that Iran is a major challenge. It’s why I’ve led three different sets of sanctions laws successfully, and the one thing about the Congress, we may have very significant differences, but the one thing that unites the American Congress is our relationship with Israel and we look forward to continuing that."