Biden and Netanyahu have 'warm conversation' and agree to meet soon

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of President Donald Trump’s closest international allies, acknowledged Joe Biden as the American president-elect in a “warm conversation” on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the prime minister’s media adviser, Biden “reiterated his deep commitment to the State of Israel and its security,” while Netanyahu described the “special bond” between Israel and the United States as a “fundamental component of Israel’s security and its policy.”

“The two agreed to meet soon in order to discuss the many issues on the agenda and reiterated the need to continue bolstering the steadfast alliance” between their countries, the statement said.

Netanyahu is the latest world leader to speak to Biden in the two weeks since Election Day, following French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Chinese government has also congratulated the president-elect.

But the news of Netanyahu’s conversation with Biden is likely to be especially bruising for Trump, as the incumbent president and the prime minister have cultivated a geopolitical alliance and political partnership in recent years.

Trump’s administration has pursued a Middle East policy largely favoring Israel and focused on safeguarding it from regional threats such as Iran. Meanwhile, Netanyahu has used video of his diplomacy with Trump to promote his Likud Party in Israel’s legislative elections.

But election-related tensions in their relationship became apparent last month, when Netanyahu notably passed up an opportunity to publicly criticize Biden during a phone call with Trump in the Oval Office, despite the president’s encouragement to do so.

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