Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
Photo: AP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden

Biden speaks to Netanyahu for first time since taking office

PMO describes hour-long conversation between heads of state as 'very friendly and warm' as they discussed building on recent Mideast peace agreements, Iranian threat and pandemic; POTUS praises PM for handling of pandemic

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 02.17.21 , 23:26
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, 27 days after the Democrat entered the White House.
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  • "The conversation was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour. The two leaders noted the long-standing personal connection between them and said they would work together to further strengthen the strong alliance between Israel and the United States," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden
    (Photo: AP)
    "President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed further advancing peace agreements, the Iranian threat and the region's challenges and agreed to continue talks between them. The president also congratulated the prime minister on his leadership in the fight against coronavirus and the two exchanged views on how to deal with the pandemic."
    Biden, who was sworn in 27 days prior on January 20 has already spoken to several world leaders and has so far ignored Netanyahu. Unlike his predecessors — Donald Trump and Barack Obama, who spoke with the premier a few days after assuming office — Biden held up his first contact with Netanyahu which raised speculations of a fallout between the two leaders.
    However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that Biden's first call with a Middle East leader will be with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    דוברת הבית הלבן עם נייר והכותרת "ישראל" בקלסר התדרוכים
    דוברת הבית הלבן עם נייר והכותרת "ישראל" בקלסר התדרוכים
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Netanyahu is the 12th head of state and the first in the Middle East with whom the U.S. president has spoken since his inauguration.
    Prior to Netanyahu's call, Biden called on the leaders of neighboring countries Canada and Mexico; NATO allies Britain, France and Germany; major east Asian allies Japan, South Korea and India; Australia as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
    Two weeks ago, Biden delivered his first speech regarding his foreign policy from the State Department in Washington and made no mention of Israel.
    Some speculated on whether Biden was putting off Netanyahu or that the Democrat simply had more urgent matters to attend to amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent financial crisis.
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