Israel’s security is paramount, Netanyahu says before leaving for D.C.


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed security prior to departing for the United States and his meeting with President Obama.

On Sunday, before leaving for the United States, Netanyahu called the five-day trip this week “important.” He is set to meet with Obama on Monday.

“I will stand steadfast on the State of Israel’s vital interests, especially the security of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said.

“In recent years the State of Israel has been under various pressures. We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security. This is what has been and what will be.”

The two leaders reportedly will discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Iran, though the Ukrainian crisis and tension with Russia also could enter into the conversations.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington. He also will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and congressional leaders.

Netanyahu will then travel to California’s Silicon Valley, where he is scheduled to meet with the heads of high-tech companies such as Apple, WhatsApp, eBay and LinkedIn. He reportedly also will sign a “strategic cooperation agreement” with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

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