Bibi touts U.S.-Israel ties at July 4th fete


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s great appreciation for the United States at an event marking the Fourth of July.

Netanyahu and a handful of government ministers attended Wednesday night’s event at the home of U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham. A Likud Party lawmaker in a letter had urged his Knesset colleagues to boycott the annual celebration.

"We have a close relationship with the United States, which President Obama defined in his speech in Cairo as unbreakable, and it is indeed unbreakable," Netanyahu said.

In response, Cunningham also discussed the strong U.S.-Israel bond and said the United States is committed to Israel’s security.

Danny Danon of Likud in his letter to Knesset members had asked them to stay away from the reception.

"There is a certain air of bitterness these days — whether it was the picture of Obama with his shoes up on the table while he spoke with the prime minister or the statement by [U.S. Middle East envoy George] Mitchell that Israel ‘doesn’t stop lying’ — there is a certain mood and style in Washington that makes it hard to go and celebrate," he told the Post.

Danon has been a vocal critic of Netanyahu and ran against him to head Likud.

Netanyahu was accompanied to the reception by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Social Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog and opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

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