Trump invites Netanyahu to White House in phone call
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Trump invites Netanyahu to White House in phone call

During 'warm' conversation, US president-elect says PM should come to Washington 'at first opportunity'

Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone and invited the Israeli leader to Washington at the “first opportunity,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Trump and Netanyahu, “who have known each other for many years, had a warm, heartfelt conversation,” the statement said.

“President-elect Trump invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to a meeting in the United States at the first opportunity,” it said.

Netanyahu responded by saying that he and his wife Sara were looking forward to meeting the president-elect and his wife Melania.

Regional issues were also raised during the phone conversation, the statement said, without elaborating.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu congratulated Trump on his election victory, saying the Republican is “a true friend of the State of Israel.”

“We will work together to advance security, stability and peace in our region,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“The bond between the US and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared future. I am sure that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the US and we will bring them to new heights,” he added.

Later Wednesday, Netanyahu released a video congratulating Trump.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting at the Trump Tower in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting at the Trump Tower in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Netanyahu met with both Trump and rival Hillary Clinton in New York in September, but refrained from expressing support for a particular candidate. Following the September meetings, the prime minister said “it doesn’t matter which of them will be elected, US support of Israel will remain strong, our pact will remain strong and will even get stronger in the coming years.”

The prime minister’s statement on Wednesday came on the heels of statements expressing a mix of optimism and wariness by Israeli politicians, many of whom joined Netanyahu in stressing the continued strengthening of the US-Israel ties.

President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Trump on his victory, which he said demonstrated that the US is the “greatest democracy.”

“There are many challenges that lie before you as president — at home and around the world. Israel, your greatest ally, stands by you as your friend and partner in turning those challenges into opportunities,” he said in a statement.

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