Olmert: Netanyahu broke the rules in US elections
In meeting with New York Jews, former PM says 'I'm not sure our prime minister has a friend in the White House' and slams Netanyahu's intervention in the US elections
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert commented on the US election results and the personal relationship between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday during a visit to New York.
"Obama was a friend of Israel before he was elected and will remain so now," Olmert said. The former prime minister told members of the Jewish Federation of New York that while relations between Israel and the US are solid and based on common values, the level of trust between the two leaders plays an important role.
"After what Netanyahu has done in the past few months – it needs to be asked whether the prime minister has a friend in the White House? I'm not sure."
Olmert stressed that this could have a tremendous effect in critical points in the future. Netanyahu had turned Israel from a bi-partisan issue to one that is at the heart of the US political debate, he added.
Netanyahu and Obama (Archive photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)
Asked if Israelis are bothered by Netanyahu's intervention in the US elections, Olmert replied that it is the prime minister's right to have a preference in terms of the candidates "but it's better if he kept it to himself."
The former prime minister claimed that rules were broken when Netanyahu intervened in the elections on behalf of "an American billionaire" with a clear interest in the race.
"That same billionaire used the prime minister to promote his own presidential candidate. This is a serious violation of the basic bilateral rules, especially when it comes to allies such as Israel and the US."
Itamar Eichner is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent