President says he is no longer speaking to Netanyahu
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President says he is no longer speaking to Netanyahu

‘I think we’ve said everything that can be said,’ Rivlin explains, again criticizing prime minister’s handling of foreign policy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) seen with President Reuven Rivlin (right) at the opening session of the 20th Knesset, March 31, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) seen with President Reuven Rivlin (right) at the opening session of the 20th Knesset, March 31, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin have not spoken for nearly two months, the president revealed Tuesday.

Relations between the two have been particularly strained since Rivlin openly criticized Netanyahu for his combative stance toward US President Barack Obama.

Their last meeting took place July 17. Till then, the two had met at least once each month since Rivlin’s election last year.

Netanyahu reportedly met with Rivlin’s predecessor Shimon Peres every two weeks over dinner.

“I think we’ve said [to each other] everything that can be said — not about the Iranian issue but about our relations with the international community,” Rivlin told Army Radio in an interview published Wednesday morning, when asked why the two had not met since mid-July.

He indicated the disagreements over Netanyahu’s foreign policy were the cause of the disconnect.

“We’ve said everything that can be said on this issue, and until the question is off the agenda we probably don’t have to meet, because each of us is busy with the same issues,” he said.

There was no immediate response from Netanyahu, who was en route to London Wednesday morning for a state visit.

In July, Rivlin chastised Netanyahu’s policy toward Washington. “Israel has three things it must ensure – its relationship with the United States, its relationship with the United States, and its relationship with the United States,” he said.

He reiterated the criticism in the Wednesday interview in a reference to Netanyahu’s March speech to the US Congress on the Iran nuclear deal.

“There’s no doubt we’d be very angry if the American president had come to the Knesset and argued against the government of Israel. We’d ask why we were hosting a guest who preaches for or calls to support one position or another in our [political] system,” he told Army Radio.

There is a long history of enmity between the two longtime Likud politicians. Netanyahu torpedoed Rivlin’s reelection as Knesset speaker in 2013 and worked to prevent Rivlin’s election as president last year, while Rivlin was not shy about criticizing Netanyahu and other cabinet ministers during his term as speaker.

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