Lindsey Graham meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Sen. Lindsey Graham met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip where the South Carolina Republican praised the allied relationship between the United States and Israel.

Graham visited with Netanyahu along with David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Monday morning. As part of the trip, Graham, a staunch supporter of Israel, also visited the Golan Heights on Monday with Netanyahu and Friedman and urged the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the narrow strip of mountainous territory occupied by Israel.

The visit from Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, comes on the heels of a contentious debate in Washington over recent remarks by freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar related to Israel that drew sharp criticism, including from prominent Democrats.

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism as well as anti-Muslim discrimination and other forms of hate and intolerance in the wake of outrage over a remark from Omar where she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Standing alongside Netanyahu in the Golan Heights, Graham called Israel “a strategic partner” to the US and “the best friend the United States could possibly ever have in a troubled region.” He said, “I cannot tell you how much intelligence is given to the United States from our friends in Israel that protects the American homeland.”

Graham said, “Working with Senator (Ted) Cruz, I will start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the State of Israel now and forever.”

“To give this territory up would be a strategic nightmare for the State of Israel,” Graham added. The territory, squeezed between Israel and Syria, offers a strategic platform from which to observe and monitor southern Syria, all the way to Damascus and beyond.

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Graham’s visit comes as Netanyahu faces controversy in Israel.

Israel’s attorney general announced last month that he intends to indict the Prime Minister on bribery and breach of trust charges arising from three separate corruption investigations, pending a hearing.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, denouncing the investigations as a media-led witch hunt.