- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Washington next week to discuss “shared interests and actions in the Middle East” with President Trump, the White House announced Wednesday.

The U.S. president, who considers the prime minister a close ally, will host a working lunch with Mr. Netanyahu, known as “Bibi,” on Monday and a dinner on Tuesday.

Mr. Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in elections next month, though the specter of corruption charges is complicating his bid.

The prime minister says far-left actors are using the accusations to derail him in his bid.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently in Israel meeting with Mr. Netenyahu and officials from Cyprus and Greece to discuss security issues and the Syrian conflict. The meeting is part of a five-day trip to the Middle East.

Mr. Netanyahu has a warm relationship with Mr. Trump, who followed through on his pledge to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then moved the U.S. Embassy there.

He’s also imitated Mr. Trump’s style to a degree. The Israeli leader claims he’s been treated unfairly by authorities in his home country, akin to Mr. Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department.

The visit also coincides with controversy around Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about what drives some politicians’ support for Israel. Members of both parties viewed her comments as anti-Semitic.

Mr. Trump seized on the dust-up, saying it should compel Jewish Americans to leave the Democratic Party and support his side.

Lauren Meier contributed to this article.

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