Remarks by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

October 1, 2014

US President Obama: Well, it’s good, once again, to welcome the prime minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu. Obviously he’s no stranger to the White House. I think I’ve met with Bibi more than any world leader during my tenure as president.

I’ll debrief Bibi on the work that we’re doing to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL and the broader agenda that I discussed at the United Nations, which is mobilizing a coalition not only for military action but also to bring about a shift in Arab states and Muslim countries that isolate the cancer of violent extremism that is so pernicious and ultimately has killed more Muslims than anything else. And we’ll also have an opportunity to discuss the progress that’s being made with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, which obviously has been a high priority for not only Israel but also the United States and the world community. So we have a lot to talk about and I appreciate very much the prime minister coming. It’s challenging, I think, for an Israeli prime minister to have to work so hard during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but I know that the prime minister’s utmost priority is making sure that his country is safe during these difficult times, and we’re glad that the United States can be a partner in that process. Thanks.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: Mr. President, first, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for the unflinching support you gave Israel during our difficult days and difficult summer we had, expressed in so many ways, but also in an additional installment of support for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives, saved many lives across the board, and I thank you for that and for the continuous bond of friendship that is so strong between Israel and the United States.

I also want to thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and to discuss the enormous challenges facing the United States and Israel in the Middle East. There’s definitely a new Middle East. I think it poses new dangers, but it also presents new opportunities. As for the dangers, Israel fully supports your effort and your leadership to defeat ISIS. We think everybody should support this.

And even more critical is our shared goal of preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power. As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power, and I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.