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Obama, Netanyahu set to meet on November 9

After fierce spats over Iran deal, both leaders begin to talk security cooperation, curbing Tehran’s regional influence

US President Barack Obama, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Barack Obama, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Israeli officials say US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet on November 9.

The meeting may be their first after a bruising battle in Washington over the White House-championed Iran nuclear deal.

Democrats successfully fought back a Republican legislative attempt to pull the US out of the deal between Iran and six world powers, which is intended to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Little love has been lost between the two leaders during the fight over the deal, but American and Israeli security officials are reportedly now in talks about augmenting defense ties and pushing back against encroaching Iranian influence throughout the region, especially when it comes to Tehran’s support for anti-Israel terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he anticipated a White House meeting in early November. By Sunday, Israeli officials told the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom daily that the date would be November 9.

Obama told rabbis in a pre-Rosh Hashanah phone call Thursday that security talks with Israel had resumed, and that he hoped to meet with Netanyahu by early next month.

In his annual pre-High Holidays call to the rabbis, Obama said that he was ready to meet with Netanyahu during the United Nations’ General Assembly opening session, which starts next week and runs through October 6. Netanyahu until now has rebuffed such overtures because of his disagreements with the US leader.

“Our consultations have already begun with Israeli military and intelligence officials,” Obama said during the call.

“My hope is to have a long discussion with Mr. Netanyahu about these issues when he comes to the United Nations during the General Assembly of the United Nations, or immediately after that,” he said.

The Iran deal was the main focus of the call, which some rabbis use to help plan their High Holidays sermons, perhaps the most influential moment of the year for American rabbis, as synagogues throughout the country are packed to capacity.

AP and JTA contributed to this report.

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