Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed cabinet ministers to refrain from commenting on the upcoming US presidential elections, or from giving an opinion as to which of the candidates they would prefer to see in the White House.
Netanyahu made it clear that Israel must not be seen as taking sides, Channel 10 reported Sunday.
“It is sensitive, I will lead the position,” he said, two days before the US elections were to be held.
“Whoever wins this week’s election in the US — I am sure that the strong and stable relations with Israel will not only remain as such, but will be strengthened,” Netanyahu said before the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “The alliance with the US is the most important alliance we have in all of our international relations. That is how it has been, and that is how it will remain.”
Netanyahu also said ties would remain strong no matter who won Tuesday’s vote.
During the previous US elections in 2012 Netanyahu was accused of leaning toward Republican candidate Mitt Romney and, in subtle ways, trying to aid his campaign for the White House.
Netanyahu was quoted and his image used in Romney television campaign ads that aired in areas heavily populated by Jews, furthering the impression that he favored the Republican candidate.
At the time, Netanyahu’s relationship with US President Barack Obama was particularly strained over their differences in opinion on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear development program. His perceived bet on Romney, who eventually lost, was reported to have further tried the relationship between the two men.
Agencies contributed to this report.