“Spring may be days away but don’t count on a thaw in the chilly relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House – which, even after election results showed Netanyahu’s party scoring a major victory, initially congratulated the Israeli people but ignored the winning candidate.
“The election results point to another two years of confrontation between President Obama and his Israeli counterpart, who is poised to secure a third consecutive term as prime minister. In its first public response to Netanyahu’s triumph in the election, White House spokesman Josh Earnest even chided Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
“He said the White House was “deeply concerned” about divisive language emanating from Likud and said the party had sought to marginalize Israel’s minority Arabs, an apparent reference to social media posts the Likud distributed that warned Israelis about the danger of high turnout by Arab voters.
“Earnest said: “These are views the administration intends to convey directly to the Israelis.” While tensions have flared for years between the two leaders, the last several weeks have seen the relationship further fray.
“In the run-up to the election, Netanyahu took a hardline stance on the two issues on which his government and the Obama administration are most intertwined – Iran nuclear talks and the seemingly far-off prospects for an agreement with the Palestinians.
“With the victory of his Likud Party, Netanyahu is stronger-positioned to keep making his case on the international stage – and needle Obama administration efforts to etch an agreement with Tehran.
“Earnest said Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry has called to congratulate Netanyahu. Obama has not yet, but will in the coming days, according to Earnest. A day earlier, he insisted that Obama has “no doubt” that the strong US – Israel bond will endure “far beyond this election” no matter the result.
Furthermore, in an exclusive interview with Newslo, Obama stated that “it’s impressive what the Israeli Prime Minister was able to accomplish in the election, and that the Democratic Party would do well to learn from him.”
“Even though Prime Minister Netanyahu and I have had our share of differences, I believe that we are and must be stronger and greater than them. There is simply too much at stake in the world to let both of our prides get in the way of common sense and overall progress,” Obama said.
He added: “As for the election, I was really blown away by the fact that only 20% of the voters gave their votes to him in the beginning, only to result in a more than convincing triumph in the end. It was sort of magical. I wonder if maybe Democrats ought to hire him for the US presidential election in 2016. God knows we could use the help, let alone the help of such a born winner.”