|Photo by: White House Photo by Pete Souza|
PM to Obama: Election win was 'vote of confidence'
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Netanyahu seeks to ease tensions with the US president, hosts US Ambassador Shapiro in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu personally congratulated US President Barack
Obama Thursday for securing another four years in the White House and told him
in a telephone call that his reelection had been “a vote of confidence in your
In the call, Netanyahu said he looked forward to continuing
to work with Obama to address the great challenges facing both the US and
Israel, as well as to advance peace and security in the Middle East.
of the personal conversation between the two leaders was released both by the
Prime Minister’s Office and the White House.
According to the Washington,
Obama made 13 phones calls to world leaders, including Netanyahu, to return
“In each call, he thanked his counterparts for
their friendship and partnership thus far, and expressed his desire to continue
close cooperation moving ahead,” the White House said.
Obama’s call came
as Netanyahu worked to reassure the US leader and the Israeli public that any
past tensions between them won’t affect their relationship in the
“In recent days, I have been hearing voices – that are coming
from among us – that are trying to stir things up between us and United States,”
Netanyahu said earlier on Thursday.
“This will not help them,” the prime
minister said at a cornerstone-laying ceremony at the hospital under
construction in Ashdod.
“The alliance between Israel and the United
States is strong. We have a strategic partnership. We have cooperation in all
areas, but especially in the security sphere; there, cooperation is deep, broad
and fundamental,” Netanyahu said. “One of the foundations of our security is the
brave partnership between us and the United States.”
On Wednesday, the
prime minister hosted US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro in his Jerusalem office to
pledge his support for Obama.
At a meeting with Jewish community leaders
in New York on Wednesday, former prime minister Ehud Olmert slammed Netanyahu
for supporting Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney during the US election
“Netanyahu’s behavior in recent months brings up the question
[of whether] Netanyahu has a friend in the White House, and I’m not sure [he
does],” Olmert said. “This could be very critical in certain
Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath told Israel Radio on Thursday,
“It was very clear that Mr. Netanyahu would have preferred Mr. Romney.”
speculated that Obama might now “seek revenge” against the prime minister. They
have also expressed concern that Netanyahu’s actions during the elections might
have harmed American Israeli ties.
One Channel 2 journalist asked Defense
Minister Ehud Barak both these questions, and even speculated that Obama might
now try and interfere in the Israeli elections by working against
Barak rejected both these ideas.
An Israel Radio
journalist also asked the US ambassador about the possibility of payback during
an interview on Thursday morning, conducted in Hebrew.
the idea that Obama would determine US policy based on his emotional reaction to
a head of government.
He also said that Obama was motivated by strategy,
not revenge. He noted that as president, Obama had a responsibility to preserve
America’s strategic interests, one of which was its strong ties with
“The close working relationship will continue,” the ambassador
Netanyahu, he said, was the elected leader of a significant
American ally. As a result, it was important for Obama to have a good
relationship with him.
Shapiro said he had been with the two men during
their nine face-to-face meetings. In each meeting they spoke in an open manner,
he said. He added that they often spoke on the phone. Their emissaries were
charged with deepening the relationship, the ambassador said.
not mean that there is no disagreement between the nations,” he said. “We are
good enough friends to disagree, and still work together to find a
Shapiro said that when he met Netanyahu on Wednesday, he
accepted his warm congratulations on behalf of the US president.
spoke about all the issues that we are working together on, the attempt to
resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians, to prevent their unilateral
steps at the UN, and to halt Iran nuclear program,” he said.
met with Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich in Tel Aviv, where she congratulated
him on Obama’s reelection.
She expressed admiration for the US
president’s economic and social reforms.
“Obama is a true friend of
Israel and I am sure that in his second term he will continue to stand by Israel
in diplomatic, security and international affairs,” Yacimovich
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.