When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to discuss the US airstrike on Iran-affiliated terrorists Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria on Monday he spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.It wasn’t the State Department that ordered the airstrike. But the call, which the sides said was about the strike and Iranian threats more broadly, is just one of a number of examples of how Pompeo has become the point person for the Trump administration on Israel matters. And Pompeo’s rise as a central figure in the US-Israel relationship comes as US President Donald Trump seems to be distancing himself from Netanyahu.Before both elections this year, Netanyahu boasted of his close relationship with Trump. And he had the receipts: Trump had recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, pulled the US out of the Iran deal, stopped pressuring Israel to make concessions toward the Palestinians and more. A huge banner of the leaders shaking hands adorned Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv. Trump chipped in to help his friend by recognizing the Golan Heights before the April election.But then another election was called, and Trump expressed frustration at the political limbo in Israel, saying it’s “too bad” that the “great guy” Netanyahu could not win a decisive victory. The second time around, Trump warned the election would be very close, “a 50/50 election,” and his pre-election gift was tweeting about an idea – a US-Israel defense pact that Netanyahu had floated – as opposed to something more concrete.Days after the September election, Trump had not called Netanyahu to congratulate him – and as we now know, no one really won – and when asked why, the president said “the relations are between our countries.”In a way, Trump gave an appropriate answer. The relationship is between two nations and not just between the two men leading them. But in the context of why he didn’t congratulate someone who is supposedly his old friend, it sounded like Trump was snubbing Netanyahu.Then, in December, Trump gave a long speech to the Israeli-American Council summit in Miami, which was entirely focused on Israel but did not mention Netanyahu once.Meanwhile, Pompeo made the dramatic announcement in November that the US no longer considers settlements to be illegitimate.Then, in early December, Netanyahu sought to fly to London to meet with Pompeo – even though Trump was going to be there, too, for a NATO conference. In the end, the British said they could not provide Netanyahu with proper security with all the other world leaders in town and Netanyahu met with Pompeo in Lisbon.And now Netanyahu and Pompeo talked about the airstrike.Interestingly, it appears Pompeo is taking an even more active role in the relationship with Israel than Special Adviser to the President Jared Kushner, who has known Netanyahu since childhood, and Avi Berkowitz, deputy assistant to the president. That, however, is likely a function of their roles in the region being tied to Trump’s “Deal of the Century” between Israel and the Palestinians, which has been derailed by Israel’s repeated elections.But the never-ending Israeli election cycle might be the reason why Trump seems to have scaled back his public relationship with Netanyahu. Trump famously likes winners and does not want to be associated with losers, and with Netanyahu’s uncertain political future, the president seems to be keeping his distance, just in case.The Prime Minister’s Office tried to portray business as usual in response to queries on the subject, saying Netanyahu and Trump spoke “a few days ago” – without specifying a date. The two also spoke on December 2 about “the threat from Iran, as well as other critical bilateral and regional issues,” according to a White House readout.“Specifics of foreign policy with the US are naturally with the secretary of state,” a Prime Minister’s Office spokesman said.There is a positive spin that could be put on this shift, which is that Pompeo is very pro-Israel. A US official told The Jerusalem Post that Pompeo is truly the most pro-Israel – and hawkish – figure in the Trump administration.The downside of that is the persistent rumors that Pompeo plans to resign soon to run for the US Senate, backed by his opening a personal twitter account and updating his website.That variable, as well as the uncertain political situation in Israel, leave us waiting to see if Pompeo will remain the American face of the US-Israel relationship.