Courtesy of JNS. Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 24, 2023

(JNS) — Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) will travel to the United States next week for high-level meetings in Washington, his office said on Tuesday.

Lapid will meet with senior officials at the White House and the State Department as well as members of Congress, according to the announcement.

During the meetings, U.S. officials intend to bring up the normalization process with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has requested American help for a Saudi civilian nuclear program in exchange for ties with Israel, a demand that Lapid has publicly opposed.

“I am very much in favor of a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia,” he said during a TV interview earlier this month, before adding, “But not at the expense of uranium enrichment that would endanger Israel’s security.”

Lapid’s planned visit comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been negotiating the details of his visit to the U.S. next month. On July 17, more than six months after Netanyahu returned to the Prime Minister’s Office, U.S. President Joe Biden invited Netanyahu for a meeting “later this year.”

It is still unclear whether the long-expected meeting will take place at the White House.

Netanyahu is expected to fly to New York for the U.N. General Assembly general debate next month, during which he may meet with Biden, although neither side has confirmed details.

“The details are going to be worked out by the different teams,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told journalists last month. “But they have committed to meeting and seeing each other in the United States later this year.”