Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called US President Barack Obama Thursday to congratulate him on his reelection victory two days earlier, seemingly extending an olive branch amid claims that the two leaders would find it hard to cooperate going forward.
Netanyahu told Obama he looked forward to continuing to work with him to “address the great challenges facing the US and Israel and to advance peace and security in our region,” according to a press release sent by Netanyahu’s office.
He added to Obama that that the election victory was a “vote of confidence in your leadership.”
Netanyahu has spent the days since the US election fending off claims that he and Obama had a poor working relationship and that ties between the leaders would be strained now that it was clear Obama would be staying put.
The Israeli prime minister was widely seen as backing Republican also-ran Mitt Romney, though he never made a public statement for or against either candidate.
On Thursday, Netanyahu rebuffed claims by former prime minister Ehud Olmert that he had damaged the relationship between Israel and the US.
““The alliance between the countries is strong and cooperation exists in all fields, especially when it comes to security, there cooperation is deep, broad and fundamental,” Netanyahu said, adding that certain people were trying to instigate strife between the countries, an apparent reference to Olmert.
On Wednesday, Olmert implied that Netanyahu’s public tussles with Washington over how to tackle Iran’s nuclear program had torpedoed the once-close relationship between the allies.
“Following what Netanyahu did in the last few months, the question arises of whether or not our prime minister has a friend in the White House,” Olmert said in a meeting with New York Jewish leaders.
Shortly after Obama’s victory, Netanyahu congratulated the US president, saying the alliance between the two countries was stronger than ever.