Biden predicts "come to Jesus" meeting with Netanyahu over Gaza aid

By Steve Holland and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two of them were headed for a "come to Jesus" meeting over the issue of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, according to a video clip posted on Friday.

Biden was recorded making the comment on Thursday night while on Capitol Hill for his State of the Union speech in what appeared to be a further sign of his frustration at dealing with Netanyahu over the issue of Gaza.

In the clip, posted on social media by Democratic consultant Sawyer Hackett, Biden can be seen talking to Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennett, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Bennett can be heard telling Biden that there was a need to keep pushing Israel to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The United States has been air dropping crates of aid into Gaza and is organizing construction of a temporary pier to allow for maritime deliveries since Israel has slowed truck deliveries.

"I told him, Bibi, and don't repeat this, but you and I are going to have a 'come to Jesus' meeting," Biden said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname. "I'm on a hot mic here. Good. That's good."

"Come to Jesus" is an American expression for having a blunt conversation.

Reporters asked Biden about the episode as he departed on Air Force One to Philadelphia.

"I didn't say that," he said initially, apparently referring to the fact that the comment was not in the Gaza section of his State of the Union speech.

But when pressed about what he said after the speech, he said: "You guys eavesdropped on me."

(Reporting By Steve Holland; additional reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)