Israel’s Interim Leader Meets Jordanian King in Amman

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AMMAN, Jordan (TBEN) — Israel’s current prime minister and the Jordanian king met Tuesday in the Jordanian capital of Amman, both leaders said.

A statement from the office of Israeli Interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he and King Abdullah II discussed recent regional changes, a clear reference to ties that have improved in recent years between Israel and several Arab countries.

They also talked about how to deepen cooperation between the two countries, including on renewable energy projects, tourism, food security and agriculture, according to Lapid’s office.

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Abdullah “emphasized the need to find a political horizon to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace” with the Palestinians, according to a statement from the Jordanian royal court. He also asked Israel to maintain peace in Jerusalem and its holy sites, a frequent flashpoint for violence against Palestinians.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations have soured in recent years due to ongoing tensions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an important holy site for both Muslims and Jews, as well as Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the lack of progress in the long-dead peace process. The countries also argued over a shooting incident by a guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman.

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Lapid, a centrist former broadcaster, has been interim prime minister since the coalition government he helped unify collapsed last month. This fall, he hopes to defeat former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a nationalist among whom relations with Jordan became tense. It will be Israel’s fifth vote in less than four years.