Prime Minister Elect Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines after he won Israel’s election last week despite having been ousted from power just over a year ago.
Yet according to Fox News, President Joe Biden is refusing to personally congratulate the Israeli leader.
Biden recognizes Brazil’s new left-wing leader but quiet about Netanyahu
The network cited a National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson who pledged that the president will speak with Netanyahu soon but did not refer to him as prime minister-elect. This reluctance comes despite the fact that current Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has publicly admitted to losing.
“Mr. Netanyahu, after winning a plurality in the Knesset, is likely to be tasked with forming a government over the coming days,” the NSC spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“The president has known and worked with Bibi Netanyahu for many years,” the spokesperson continued, adding, “They worked closely together when Netanyahu was prime minister last year, and they met again during the president’s visit to Israel in July.”
Fox News noted that as of now, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides is the only American official to have congratulated Netanyahu directly.
Nides boasted that he and Netanyahu enjoyed a “good call” this past Thursday and said he anticipates “working together to maintain the unbreakable bond.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly commended Lapid on Israel’s “free and fair elections.” Blinken is said to have thanked “the prime minister for his partnership” while expressing concern over “heightened tensions” in the West Bank.
Administration reportedly objects to one of Netanyahu’s allies
Joel Rubin once served as deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration, and he was quoted as telling Fox News that the “likely makeup” of Netanyahu’s government will create “stark challenges for American national security.”
“The Biden administration will be challenged to navigate this space, which will require close coordination with Netanyahu himself, personally, as he attempts to manage a challenging governing coalition for Israeli-Arab relations,” Rubin declared.
One point of contention appears to be Israeli politician and Netanyahu ally Itamar Ben-Gvir: unnamed officials told Axios that he is considered by the administration to be a “Jewish supremacist.”
Fox News noted the contrast between Biden’s decision to give Netanyahu the cold shoulder and the way he immediately recognized last week’s win by Brazil’s left-wing President Elect Lula da Silva.