While the results of Tuesday’s election are not yet official, Israeli media is already speculating as to why Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to receive a congratulatory phone call from US President Joe Biden.
On Friday, several Channel 12 reporters noted that Biden had yet to call. Few leaders have reached out to Netanyahu thus far, evidently waiting until he forms a coalition. Some, such as Hungary’s Victor Orban, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenksy and India’s Narendra Modi have tweeted out their congratulations after Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 seats and his bloc of right-wing and religious parties secured a majority in the Knesset after four elections where it failed to do so.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted Friday that he spoke with Netanyahu, extended his congratulations and expressed his desire to continue expanding bilateral ties between the two countries.
Netanyahu did receive a call on Thursday from US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides who congratulated him and said he looked forward to working together to advance common values.
Channel 12 reported on Friday that Nides also told Netanyahu to expect a call from Biden in the coming days, while also noting that the president was busy campaigning for the midterm election which will take place in the US next Tuesday.
Last year, similar speculation over a call between the two took place after Biden assumed office following his election win in late 2020. The US president took four weeks since starting his first term in January 2021 to call the Israeli premier.
The seemingly lengthy period led to speculation that Netanyahu no longer had the close relationship with the White House that he enjoyed when Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump was in office.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken phoned outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid to thank him for his efforts as premier in addition to discussing the security situation in the West Bank.
On Wednesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that “we hope that all Israeli government officials will continue to share the values of an open, democratic society including tolerance and respect for all in civil society, particularly for minority groups.”