'Netanyahu, Obama relationship is strong'

Speaking at INSS symposium, US envoy insists prime minister, US president's ties are based on trust, common interests.

Obama Netanyahu smiling happy meeting 390 (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO)
Obama Netanyahu smiling happy meeting 390
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “have trust in each other,” US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said on Wednesday, taking issue with the characterization that the two men “don’t like each other very much.”
Shapiro, speaking at the Institute of National Security Studies annual conference in Tel Aviv, said that the “strong ties that flow all the way down the ranks of our governments, militaries and intelligence services” are “designed and directed by the two leaders at the top who have trust in each other.”
Shapiro’s comments came after Robert Blackwill, a former deputy national security adviser under George W. Bush, said at the conference that “it is common knowledge that the Israeli prime minister and the American president don’t like each other very much. And that worries me.”
Shapiro said he “respectfully disagreed” with Blackwill’s assessment.
Blackwill, numerating what he said were clouds on the horizon of US-Israeli relations, said he was “very worried” about the personal relationship between Obama and Netanyahu.
“I worked in the White House three different times on the national security council,” Blackwill said. “Good relations can soften disagreements, bad relations can exacerbate disagreements.
It matters. What we Americans tend to forget is that the fellow who goes to work every morning in the Oval Office is called a homo sapien, and he has glands like all the rest of us – and he gets affected by his glands.”