Israel’s leaders congratulated US President Barack Obama on his reelection on Wednesday, praising the security cooperation between the two countries and expressing a wish for fruitful cooperation in the future.
“I want to congratulate President Obama on his reelection. I think the United States of America again demonstrated why it’s the greatest democracy on earth,” Netanyahu told US Ambassador Dan Shapiro during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. “The security relationship between the United States and Israel is rock solid, and I look forward to working with President Obama to further strengthen this relationship, and I look forward to working with him to advance our goals of peace and security.”
Shapiro thanked Netanyahu for the good wishes, noting that the American people were very proud of their democratic system and values. “Obviously, Israelis share those values,” he said.
Obama “has enjoyed close security cooperation with you and your government in his first term and we look forward to continuing it in the second term,” Shapiro told Netanyahu.
This past summer, diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Washington became increasingly strained over the question of setting clear red lines and deadlines to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In late August, Shapiro himself was present at a reportedly tense meeting between Netanyahu and visiting congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, during which the envoy was said to have disagreed with the prime minister over Obama’s handling of the Iranian threat.
Tensions have subsided somewhat in recent weeks, however, after Netanyahu announced, at the United Nations General Assembly in September, that there was still some time — until spring or “at most by next summer” — before Iran would be able to assemble a nuclear weapon.
Still, personal relations between Obama and Netanyahu remain chilly. Many left-leaning politicians and pundits, both in Israel and in the US, considered the prime minister’s warm reception for Mitt Romney, Obama’s rival for the presidency, in Jerusalem earlier this summer an improper meddling in US politics.
Immediately after Obama delivered his victory speech in Chicago early Wednesday morning, Netanyahu’s office sent out a terse congratulatory statement: “The strategic alliance between Israel and the US is stronger than ever,” the prime minister said. “I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel.”
President Peres struck a more ebullient tone in a personal letter he sent to his American counterpart, expressing “heartfelt congratulations” to the president, his family and the American people, and praising the elections as “a triumph for the American democracy.”
Peres hailed the “unbreakable” friendship between Israel and America and the values and principles that the two countries share, and thanked Obama for his “unprecedented commitment and support for the security of Israel” during his first term. “I know that the United States, under your leadership, will continue to do so in the future, facing the Iranian nuclear challenge in the way you have outlined, as well as working together to achieve peace with our neighbors.”