President-elect Donald Trump’s advisers want to invite Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the inauguration or arrange a meeting of the two leaders before then, a source close to the transition team said, the New York Post reported Sunday, on Sunday, though Netanyahu’s office said that no invite has been received.
Transition leaders, led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, have been aggressively courting Netanyahu and want him to attend the Jan. 20 inauguration, the source said.
“There’s a plan for Trump to meet with Netanyahu. They’re talking all the time. And Netanyahu is talking about possibly going to the inauguration,” a source close to Trump said.
The Prime Minister’s Office said that Trump and Netanyahu have talked several times on the phone since the election, but that so far no invitation to the inauguration has been received.
A day after the presidential election, Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his victory. Trump invited Netanyahu to meet in the U.S. at his “first opportunity.”
Trump has continuously emphasized that Israel is “very important” to him, and has also promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim.
Netanyahu’s tense relationship with outgoing President Barack Obama has aggravated in recent weeks, after the White House declined to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron.
After the U.S. abstained from last month’s Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 which allowed the anti-settlement resolution to pass, Trump lashed out at the Obama administration for treating Israel “with such total disdain and disrespect.”
The president-elect took to social media, urging Israel to “stay strong,” as January 20, Inauguration Day, “is fast approaching!”
Trump also implied that under Obama, the U.S. was no longer “a great friend” of Israel.
Netanyahu responded in kind, thanking Trump for his “warm friendship and your clear-cut support.”
The prime minister has said that he looks forward to working with Trump, his administration and Congress to try to reverse the Security Council resolution.