President Joe Biden has opened his visit to Israel with a tour of Israel’s advanced missile-defence systems.
Israel prepared the display at its main international airport, showing off a multilayered system that is capable of intercepting everything from long-range ballistic missiles in space to short-range rockets.
The systems have been developed in partnerships with the US.
They include the Iron Dome, a rocket defence system that has intercepted thousands of rockets fired by Gaza militants, as well as a new laser-based system called the “Iron Beam.” That system is not yet operational.
Biden also reiterated US desire for negotiations, stalled since 2014, to create a Palestinian state in Israel, calling the two state solution "the best hope" for both peoples.
Biden's first visit to Israel as president is his tenth of a long political career. Israel has stepped carefully around disputes with Washington over Iranian nuclear diplomacy and long-stalled Palestinian statehood negotiations.
"Your relationship with Israel has always been personal," Lapid said in a speech, calling Biden "one of the best friends Israel has ever known".
Biden will spend two days in Jerusalem before meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in the occupied West Bank.
He will then fly directly from Israel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi officials and to attend a summit of Gulf allies.
Meanwhile, the US President will also participate in a four-way virtual summit with the leaders of Israel, the UAE and India during his Middle East trip this week, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier.
The summit will focus on food security.
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