Netanyahu, Gantz Congratulate Biden on U.S. Election Win, Thanks Trump

YERUSHALAYIM -
Then-Vice President Joe Biden (R) prepares to sign the guest book before his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Netanyahu’s residence in Yerushalayim in 2010. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday congratulated President-elect Joe Biden after his election win saying he looked forward to working together with the new administration and strengthening the two countries’ alliance.

“Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe, we’ve had a long and warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel,” Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account, which still carries a photograph of him and incumbent President Donald Trump at its head.

“Thank you Donald Trump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Netanyahu’s message came hours after many world leaders and some Israeli ministers had congratulated Democrat Biden, even as Trump refused to concede and pressed ahead with legal fights against the outcome.

Netanyahu’s particularly close ties with Trump followed an acrimonious relationship with his predecessor Barack Obama, which some critics have said had alienated Democrats and compromised U.S. bipartisan support for Israel.

Friction between Netanyahu and the new administration could arise given Biden‘s pledge to restore U.S. involvement in the Iran nuclear deal and a likely opposition by the White House to Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

Having been in lockstep with Trump for the past four years, Netanyahu could face policy whiplash – although it may be delayed by the incoming Biden administration’s need to deal first with the COVID-19 crisis and U.S. economic woes.

Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz was the first senior Israeli official to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory.

“As the election results become final, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Joe Biden, a long-time supporter and friend of Israel, and to his running mate, Kamala Harris, who has made history as the first woman elected Vice Presidet,” Gantz tweeted Sunday.

“I look forward to continuing to deepen the steadfast bond and strong defense ties between our peoples, as allies in the effort to strengthen democracy, stability, and peace worldwide.”

Gantz also thanked outgoing President Donald Trump, saying that “the Middle East has taken major steps forward thanks to the president’s bold leadership over these four years, and for that we are immensely grateful.”