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Netanyahu departs for U.S. trip amid corruption investigation


March 4 (UPI) — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left the country for a five-day trip to the United States amid several corruption allegations Sunday.

Netanyahu will begin the trip by meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday when the two leaders are expected to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

“This is a very important trip. I will meet with a great friend of Israel and a personal friend of mine, U.S. President Donald Trump. I will thank him first and foremost for his historic decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy [from Tel Aviv] to Jerusalem on Independence Day. This is a great gift to our nation,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu is also expected to discuss Iranian aggression and peace in the region in his fifth meeting with Trump since he took office in January 2017.

“We will discuss Iranian aggression in our region in general and especially with regard to the Iranian nuclear program. I will also discuss with the President the advancement of peace. The advancement of these subjects are important to Israel and important to the security of the entire world,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, followed by meetings with members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday Netanyahu will attend an economic forum in D.C. before flying to New York for a Jewish Agency gala honoring the 30th anniversary of Natan Sharansky’s release from a Soviet prison.

Netanyahu and his wife Sarah Netanyahu were questioned by investigators Friday as part of an ongoing investigation into whether they took bribes from the owner of Israel’s largest telecommunications company, Bezeq.

The prime minister didn’t answer questions about the probe as he departed on Sunday, but said support he has received from the Israeli public has been “heartwarming.”

“On behalf of all Israeli citizens, as I understand it, I am heading out to pursue three goals: security, peace and economic prosperity for our nation,” Netanyahu said. “I want to take this opportunity to once again to thank the Israeli pubic for its good and warm support. It warms the heart.”

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