Biden told PM to ‘think strategically about risk of escalation’ in weighing response to Iran — official

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on their call last night that Israel must “think carefully and strategically about the risk of escalation,” as it weighs how to respond to Iran’s drone and missile attack, a senior Biden administration official says.

The administration official is careful not to say that the US opposes an Israeli military response to Iran’s attack. However, he stresses in a briefing with reporters that the US would not join Israel in such a strike.

“Israel has made clear to us that they’re not looking for a significant escalation with Iran. They’re looking to protect themselves and defend themselves,” the senior administration official says.

How Israel responds to the Iranian strike is “a calculation the Israelis have to make. This was an unprecedented attack from Iran against Israel. At the same time, we think in the overall exchange here, the Israelis came out very much on top,” he says.

“We are committed to defending Israel, [but] we would not be a part of any response,” the senior administration official clarifies.

“The events of the last 10 days have demonstrated that while we may have some disagreements, the United States of America stands with Israel and there’s no question that we will come to their defense when they are attacked,” the official adds.

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