Biden to Speak with Netanyahu Soon, White House Says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to speak with Israeli leader Binymin Netanyahu soon, the White House said on Thursday, without providing a date.

Biden’s failure to include Netanyahu so far in his calls with foreign leaders has raised eyebrows in Israel and among Middle East experts. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both spoke to him within days of taking office.

“The president looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s obviously somebody that he has a long-standing relationship with,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing.

Having been in lockstep with Trump for four years, Netanyahu will likely be challenged by any Biden departure from Trump’s tough policy on Iran and towards the Palestinians.

“Obviously there’s an important relationship that the United States has with Israel on the security front and as a key partner in the region,” Psaki said. “He’ll be talking with him soon – I don’t have a specific date or time for you on that call yet.”