Possibly assuming that Benjamin Netanyahu will win Tuesday’s elections and remain in power, or maybe just sending a routine greeting, US President Barack Obama sent the Israeli prime minister a card a few days ago saying he was looking forward to the two of them working together in 2013.
The handwritten text was written on a presidential New Year’s card. Speaking from memory because he did not have the card in front of him, Netanyahu’s spokesman Raffi Shamir recalled Obama’s message as, “Looking forward to continuing working with you in the new year.”
Obama’s note was a response to a good wishes card Netanyahu had sent to Washington earlier this month, Shamir said.
It was unclear whether Obama’s note was a standard text he sent to other heads of state and governments.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to publish the letter.
It is an open secret that the relationship between the two leaders is not especially warm. According to veteran US diplomat and foreign policy expert Aaron David Miller, it is indeed “the most dysfunctional” ever between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. Obama is reportedly especially fed up with Netanyahu’s policies vis-à-vis the settlements, reportedly saying that, under the current prime minister, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”
On the occasion of Obama officially commencing his second term as president on Tuesday, Netanyahu and Labor party chairman Shelly Yachimovich sent congratulatory missives to Washington.