Joe Biden to host Israeli President Reuven Rivlin later this month

Meeting will be Biden's first with a senior Israeli official since taking office

epa09284082 US President Joe Biden waves to the press as he walks to board Marine One, on the ellipse, at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 18 June 2021. President Joe Biden will spend the weekend with family in Delaware.  EPA/TASOS KATOPODIS / POOL

US President Joe Biden plans to host Israel's outgoing president Reuven Rivlin at the White House on June 28, the White House said on Saturday.

"President Rivlin's visit will highlight the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel and the deep ties between our governments and our people," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Mr Rivlin will visit shortly before he is due to end his seven-year term in July. He will be the first senior Israeli official to meet with Biden since he took office in January.

Isaac Herzog was elected the country's new president this month in elections that marked the end of the era of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu era in Israel.

The role of president is largely ceremonial but also meant to promote unity among ethnic and religious groups.

The government changed after last month's fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza also touched off rare mob violence among the Jewish majority and Arab minority within Israeli cities.
"President Rivlin approaches the end of his term, this visit will honour the dedication he has shown to strengthening the friendship between the two countries over the course of many years," Ms Psaki said.

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