Sara Netanyahu congratulates Melania Trump on new role as first lady

In phone call, leaders’ spouses talk of upcoming meeting in February, strengthening US-Israel ties, PMO says

A composite image of Sara Netanyahu, left, and Melania Trump, right. (Flash90, AFP)
A composite image of Sara Netanyahu, left, and Melania Trump, right. (Flash90, AFP)

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, congratulated on Wednesday Melania Trump on her new role as first lady and said she looked forward to seeing her in Washington next month when the prime minister and President Donald Trump are set to meet.

In a phone call Wednesday evening, Sara Netanyahu and Melania Trump discussed working together to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the United States, according to a press statement sent out by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The president invited the prime minister to meet in Washington in early February, in a phone call Sunday, their first since Trump took office two days earlier.

A final date for their meeting has not yet been set, but is seen as heralding a new era in US-Israel relations after years of strained ties marked by public spats with the Obama administration.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the conversation between the prime minister and the president on Sunday was “very warm,” and the two leaders discussed the Iran deal, the peace process, and “other issues.”

“The prime minister expressed his desire to work closely with President Trump to forge a common vision to advance peace and security in the region, with no daylight between the United States and Israel,” a statement said.

Indeed, the two leaders seem to agree on a number of issues that had been causes of tension with Obama, namely the controversial Iranian nuclear deal which Netanyahu was vociferously opposed to. Trump has called it the “dumbest deal” he’s ever seen but it is not yet clear if he can or would cancel it or repeal it somehow.

In addition, the Trump administration reacted with silence on Tuesday when it was announced that Israel approved some 2,500 new housing units in a number of settlements in the West Bank — an announcement that would have earned Jerusalem an instant, sharp rebuke by the State Department or the White House under the Obama administration.

In Washington, Trump told reporters his phone conversation Sunday evening with Netanyahu “was very nice.”

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