Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration, calling him his “friend.”
“Congrats to my friend President Trump,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter Friday, several hours before the president elect was scheduled to officially assume the title following his inauguration in Washington DC. “Look forward to working closely with you to make the alliance between Israel and the United States of America stronger than ever.”
Netanyahu and President Barack Obama have had a tense relationship, amid Netanyahu’s vocal opposition to an US-led deal between six world powers and Iran that offers Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back of some of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Obama has also criticized Israel’s activity in settlements and in the West Bank and east Jerusalem ore openly than some previous presidents.
On Dec. 25, after the United states abstained during a UN Security Council vote that ended with a condemnation of Israel’s settlements activity, Netanyahu said in a speech that he had told State Secretary John Kerry that “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”
Yuval Steinitz, a senior Israeli cabinet minister, said on Thursday that Israel was “praying” that President-elect Donald Trump will be responsible, courageous and serious
Steinitz, Israel’s energy and infrastructures minister, who is considered to be a close ally of Netanyahu, said in an interview on Army Radio Friday that “we are all praying that, alongside his sense of humor and colorful personality, Trump will understand the weight of responsibility lying on his shoulders and will turn out to be a courageous and serious president.”
Israel’s education minister, Naftali Bennett of the rightist Jewish Home party, was quoted by Army Radio as having congratulated Trump ahead of his inauguration.
“President Trump, in the name of the people in Israel, congratulations and good luck!” Bennett was quoted as saying. “We look forward to a deep and strong relationship. May God bless our nations.”