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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rubio: US-Israel ties must remain above political battles

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres each met on Wednesday with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl). Rubio said that the US-Israel relationship must remain above the political battles between Democrats and Republicans (Hat Tip for the photo: Dan F).
Rubio, a first-term senator who is a rising star in the Republican party and a man mentioned as a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said that the "Israeli-American relationship is one of the most important ones we have, and certainly our commitment to that partnership is bipartisan and it should remain that way." Rubio, who presented the Republican rebuttal to US President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last week, said that keeping the US-Israel relationship bipartisan is "why I'm pleased the President is coming here in March."
The senator's rebuttal to Obama's speech will probably be remembered more for an awkward chug of bottled water he took on camera, than for its content. In a good-spirited, self-deprecating allusion to that water moment for which he was roughly criticized, he clanged water bottles with Netanyahu at the outset of their meeting.


Neither Netanyahu's office, nor Rubio's staff, gave any details about the hour-long meeting, beyond saying it dealt with the wide range of regional issues, from Iran to Syria, the Palestinians and Egypt.


In addition to meeting Netanyahu, Rubio also met President Shimon Peres who said that while he, as a man of nearly 90 years, represented the past, Rubio "represent(s) the future." Peres was unaware of Rubio's exact age, until the Senator told him: "I'm 41, but I feel 42." "This is the city which is the spiritual capital of the world," he told Peres. On his previous visit, he added, he had not only fallen in love with Jerusalem, but with the whole country.
"At a time when few things unite Democrats and Republicans in Washington, I'm pleased that Israel is one of them," he said.
'The people of Israel have a right to be safe," Rubio said, pledging that Americans would continue to do everything possible to advance that aim. "Israel represents everything the US stands for," he said, citing the country's vibrant democracy, vibrant economy, free markets and free enterprise, which he declared are "an example to the world".
I'd still love to meet Rubio. Someone sent me an email that might have told me how to do that, but I wasn't able to access it.

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