Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing a hero welcome to French President Francois Hollande, who’s scheduled to arrive Sunday for a high-profile visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Times of Israel reports.
“The French president is a close friend of the State of Israel and I look forward to hosting him and his partner Valérie Trierweiler in Israel, especially at this time when the major powers, including France, are discussing ways to halt the Iranian nuclear program,” Netanyahu said Thursday. “Together we will work to advance and deepen bilateral strategic and economic relations.”
Netanyahu and Hollande will sign a joint statement hailing “the continued growth of bilateral relations” and expressing “the determination to continue and deepen cooperation in many areas of strategic importance, and the strengthening of economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties between the two countries,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced.
According to the schedule publied on Times of Israel, Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres will greet the French dignitaries at Ben Gurion Airport at around 1 pm on Sunday. The three leaders will hold a ceremony at the tarmac before heading for the capital.
Following a meeting with President Peres at the President’s Residence and laying a wreath at the grave of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, President Hollande will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, accompanied by Peres and Netanyahu and lay a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance.
At around 6 pm, Hollande will arrive at the Prime Minister’s Office for a tête-à-tête with Netanyahu, which is scheduled to last for about an hour and a half. After their meeting, the two leaders will hold a joint press conference and then proceed to dine together.
President Hollande will also address the Knesset plenum in a special session, Monday afternoon. Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich are also scheduled to speak.