Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will extend his congratulations to Joe Biden after the U.S.-president elect delivers a victory speech at 8:00 p.m., according to reports.
Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, has been noticeably silent on Biden’s election victory over outgoing President Donald Trump despite an outpouring of support from leaders around the globe.
A number of Israeli politicians have publicly extended their congratulations to Biden, including opposition leader MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid party), Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White) and others.
According to Kan News, Netanyahu’s office instructed Likud ministers to publicly emphasize their hope the new administration will continue “President Trump’s foreign policy that has shown results – the policy on Iran, the promotion of normalization between Israel and Arab countries.”
The communication did not mention expressing congratulations to the incoming president-elect.
Netanyahu has a close relationship with Donald Trump and is believed to be wary of upsetting the outgoing leader with still two months left in his presidency.
Biden is expected to continue at least one of Trump’s policies – an effort that in the past two months has secured agreements by three Arab states, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, to start normalizing relations with Israel.
It is widely seen as one of Trump’s foreign policy successes, though Biden has made clear he will do more to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians, who consider the moves by their Arab brethren a betrayal of their cause for statehood.
Though Biden describes himself as a Zionist and friend to nine Israeli prime ministers, friction could arise between a Biden White House and Netanyahu, who famously feuded with Biden’s ex-boss, Barack Obama.
In what Israel would likely see as a de-facto third Obama term, Biden has pledged to restore U.S. involvement in the Iran nuclear deal.