Relations between Obama and Netanyahu have at times been tense
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday congratulated US President Barack Obama on his re-election, saying ties between their two countries were "stronger than ever." © Gali Tibbon - Pool/AFP/File
Relations between Obama and Netanyahu have at times been tense
AFP
Last updated: November 7, 2012

Israel prime minister congratulates Obama and says ties are strong

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday congratulated US President Barack Obama on his re-election, saying ties between their two countries were "stronger than ever."

"The prime minister congratulates the president of the United States for his victory in the election," Netanyahu said in a statement. "The strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever."

At a meeting later Wednesday with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Netanyahu made special reference to defence ties.

"The security relationship between the United States and Israel is rock solid, and I look forward to working with President Obama to further strengthen this relationship and I look forward to working with him to advance our goals of peace and security," his office quoted him as saying.

It quoted Shapiro as responding: "The president has enjoyed close security cooperation with you and your government in his first term and we look forward to continuing it in the second term."

Relations between Obama and Netanyahu have at times been tense, with the Israeli leader appearing to throw his support behind Obama's Republican opponent Mitt Romney during the election campaign.

But in recent weeks, as Obama's re-election looked increasingly likely, Israeli officials stressed that a second term for the US president would not mean a deterioration in bilateral ties.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, currently visiting Russia, sent a letter to Obama to congratulate him on the win, addressing him as "dear friend."

"Mr President, you represent the future. Your success will be the success of us all," Peres wrote. "Thank you for your unprecedented commitment and support for the security of Israel in your first term."

"I know that the United States, under your leadership will continue to do so in the future, facing the Iranian nuclear challenge in the way you have outlined, as well as working together to achieve peace with our neighbours," he added.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak also offered his congratulations, saying he expected Obama to continue to offer Israel strong support.

"I have no doubt that the Obama administration will continue its policy whereby Israel's security is at its very foundations, as well as its efforts to tackle the challenges facing all of us in the region," he said in a statement.

"I believe that, in the tradition of deep friendship and with a backdrop of shared experiences accrued with President Obama, it will also be possible to overcome any differences in stance, should they arise."

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered his own congratulations, saying he expected Obama would "continue to promote and preserve the great friendship between the two countries and people based on common values."

Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom offered a similar assessment.

"All the US administrations have supported Israel on the political, security and economic fronts because we have common interests and values," he told public radio.

"Barack Obama has been with us during the most sensitive moments," he added. "Those who say that it will be hard and that there will be a confrontation during the second Obama term are wrong."

blog comments powered by Disqus