Pompeo planning trip to Israel despite coronavirus restrictions 

Source: Pompeo planning trip to Israel despite coronavirus restrictions – Axios

Pompeo (R) with Netanyahu last year. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to travel to Israel next week for a 24-hour visit, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This will be the first visit of a senior foreign official to Israel since coronavirus travel restrictions came into place. This will also be Pompeo’s first trip abroad since the crisis became a global pandemic.

Pompeo is expected to arrive next Tuesday and return to Washington the next day, Israeli officials tell me.

  • The trip would come days before Israel’s new government is slated to be sworn in, and Pompeo is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, his rival-turned-coalition-partner.
  • It’s unclear why Pompeo is planning to travel in person, or how the visit could be impacted by Israel’s social distancing restrictions and emergency regulations which demand that any person arriving from abroad enter 2 weeks of confinement.
  • State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the department has “no trips to announce right now.”

Update: Pompeo was asked about this report during a press briefing on Wednesday morning.

“I don’t have any travel to confirm, but I think in the upcoming hours and days you’ll see an announcement. We’re hoping to get back out and be on the ground to do the things the State Department needs to do — that we need to physically be located in those places for. We’re hoping we can get that started up before too long. It’ll start off smaller but we’re hoping to get back at it.”

 

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