Two days after he hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, US President Donald Trump on Friday reaffirmed America’s ties with Israel, saying in his weekly address that the US would join Israel in its war on terrorism and in defense of “all innocent human life.”
“The United States also reaffirmed our unbreakable bond this week with our cherished ally Israel,” the US president said in his address, which was posted on Facebook.
“It was an honor to welcome my friend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. I affirmed to the prime minister America’s commitment to working with Israel and our allies and partners for greater security and stability,” the president said.
“The threat of terrorism – and believe me, it is a threat – must be confronted and defeated – and we will defeat it,” he said. “We share with Israel the deep conviction that must defend all innocent human life.”
Netanyahu landed in Israel on Friday after a warm welcome in the US, a change of tone from the rocky relations he had with former president Barack Obama.
During a briefing to reporters after his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu defended a White House statement issued for International Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention the Jewish people.
In his briefing, Netanyahu hailed Trump as a staunch ally of Israel and the best friend the Jewish people could wish for.
“There is no doubt that the president and his team understand very well the significance of the Holocaust as an attempt to annihilate the Jewish people, and that they fully appreciate the centrality of the Holocaust in Jewish life,” he told Israeli and international reporters at the Blair House, the administration’s prestigious residence for visiting dignitaries.
When it was put to him that many in the American Jewish community expressed disappointment, concern and in some cases anger at the fact that the White House not only omitted to mention Jews as the victims of Nazi genocide in the statement but later doubled down on the omission, insisting that other people also suffered during the Holocaust, Netanyahu reacted dismissively.
He said he did not bring up the issue during his meeting with Trump in the Oval Office earlier Wednesday, but that his aides looked into the matter “a while ago” and were utterly convinced that no objections needed to be raised.
“This man is a great friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, there is no doubt about this,” Netanyahu said, adding that concerns and condemnations expressed by US-Jewish groups “were misplaced.”
“In the course of my life I have met many different [US] presidents,” Netanyahu said. “Based on this first meeting [with Trump] I can say that we don’t have a greater friend than President Trump,” he said.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.