U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan holds talks with Israeli defence leaders in Tel Aviv

Sullivan sat down first with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi for discussions at the defence ministry headquarters.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan engaged in a round of high-level meetings with top Israeli defence officials in Tel Aviv on Monday, according to statements from the parties involved.

Sullivan sat down first with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi for discussions at the Defence Ministry headquarters.

The White House adviser then held talks with Benny Gantz, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs and a member of the security cabinet, as well as Gadi Eisenkot, a former Israeli military chief serving as an observer to the senior decision-making body.

No details were immediately provided by either the Biden administration or the Israeli government on the substance of Sullivan’s conversations during his visit to Israel, which has included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials.

The talks are taking place against the backdrop of ongoing violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as U.S. efforts to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal – an endeavour strongly opposed by Israel’s government.

Israel has also praised the strong backing it has received from the Biden administration amid tensions with the Palestinians. Last month saw a spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence, including a militant attack in the West Bank that killed an American citizen.

In addition to the Iranian nuclear issue, the agenda for Sullivan’s talks was expected to include Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Israel has walked a careful line, voicing support for Ukraine but stopping short of enforcing strict sanctions on Moscow or providing defensive weaponry like other Western nations.

Sullivan’s Israeli meetings cap off a broader diplomatic tour that also took him to Egypt and Saudi Arabia to coordinate with U.S. partners in the Middle East.

The national security adviser’s visit is aimed at preparing the ground for President Biden’s expected trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks. It would mark Biden’s first visit to the two nations since taking office last year.