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Biden labels Israeli cabinet as ‘extremist’ in recent interview

In a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, President Joe Biden labeled Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet “extremist.” Biden noted, “This is one of the most extremist members of cabinets that I’ve seen. I go all the way back to Golda Meir, and – you know, not that she was extreme, but I go back to that era.”

Two controversial figures from Netanyahu’s cabinet are National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

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Ben-Gvir’s controversial actions, stance on LGBT events spark debate

Ben-Gvir has stirred controversy through his actions, including multiple visits to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and his statements about LGBT pride events.

“The homosexuals are my brothers, and the lesbians are my sisters,” he said. “I’ve always said that, but I’m against walking around in the streets in underwear, and I’m against being coerced.”

Smotrich’s divisive comments, Biden-Netanyahu strained relations

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Smotrich, though not seen as extreme as Ben-Gvir, has also made divisive comments. In March, he stated, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”

Biden’s relations with Netanyahu have been strained since March when Biden expressed reluctance to invite Netanyahu to the White House due to the latter’s efforts to reshape Israel’s judiciary, sparking protests.

Biden criticizes Israel ahead of meeting President Herzog

Biden’s criticism precedes his meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog later this July.

Herzog is scheduled to address Congress on July 19, marking Israel’s 75th founding anniversary.

The remarks also follow an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

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Biden criticizes Palestinian Authority, alludes to Israel’s role in conflict

In the interview, Biden discussed the Palestinian Authority (PA), which he believes “has lost its credibility.” He further said that PA “has created a vacuum for extremism in among the Palestinians.”

However, Biden also hinted at Israel’s contribution to the ongoing conflict.

Prominent figures weigh in on Biden’s remarks

Prominent Jewish and pro-Israel community members shared their views. Steve Rabinowitz, a Democratic strategist, defended Biden’s distinction between Netanyahu’s and Herzog’s cabinets, labeling the former as “extreme.”

The Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) echoed Rabinowitz, with Rachel Rosen stating, “President Biden is correct in saying this Israeli Cabinet contains some of the most extreme members ever.”

Rosen emphasized Biden’s consistent support for Israel and the Palestinians’ role in their predicament.

Biden’s remarks elicit diverse reactions

Conversely, Sander Gerber criticized the term ‘extreme’ conflation as referring to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority. He blamed the PA for depriving the Palestinian people of their future and erecting peace barriers.

The Republican Jewish Coalition condemned Biden’s comments.

Sam Markstein accused Biden of undermining Israel and catering to far-left radicals at the expense of mainstream pro-Israel supporters.

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Biden: Normalization between Israel, Saudi Arabia not imminent

Lastly, Biden stated that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is not imminent, saying, “We’re a long way from there. We’ve got a lot to talk about.”

He recounted his trip, where he negotiated Israeli aircraft overflight rights in Saudi Arabia and commented on the changing global dynamics, particularly concerning renewable policies.

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