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NYT: Netanyahu reduced intel-sharing with US on Iran when Biden took office

Left: US President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Yad LeBanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)
Left: US President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Yad LeBanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu scaled back Israel’s intelligence-sharing with the United States when President Joe Biden took office, according to a New York Times report.

According to the report, the US is increasingly dependent on Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, as Tehran has effectively cracked down on the American spy network in the country.

But Israel, American and Israeli officials say, has withheld information to prevent the US government from curtailing its covert military operations to obstruct Iran’s nuclear program. This was the case with the strike on the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran, attributed to Israel in April, when the White House was given two hours’ notice of the plan, the report says.

The report says Netanyahu’s distrust for Biden was the reason for the policy change. Some Israeli officials quoted in the report say the move was over fears Washington would leak the information, as US administrations did with other operations. American officials deny the charge.

According to the report, former Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen tried to patch up the relationship two weeks after the Natanz bombing, meeting Biden and CIA officials in Washington to discuss the issue. He was given a warm reception, the report says.

The report comes as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Biden are set to hold their first meeting today.

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