Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he has been told he will speak to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden soon.
The premier, who often boasts his close ties with Republican President Donald Trump, has acknowledged the veteran Democrat's victory in the recent U.S. election for the first time after he was asked during a press conference about Israel's intentions to build 1,257 new housing units in the settlement of Givat Hamatos which is located over the Green Line, and is considered a neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
"We usually update the current administration in Washington on construction plans and they knew about this one as well," Netanyahu said. "I announced it at the time."
Israel cast a wider net on Monday in its quest to secure a vaccine for COVID-19, approaching Russia to discuss buying its Sputnik V vaccine.
"About an hour ago, I spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing an option on the vaccine Sputnik-V," Netanyahu told reporters. "We will discuss this in the coming days."
An official statement by Kremlin said that Netanyahu and Putin discussed the measures taken by both countries to rein in the spread of COVID-19 and future Russo-Israeli cooperation on the distribution and production of the Russian vaccine.
"The two leaders focused on efforts to counter the spread of the coronavirus. They had a detailed discussion of the restrictive and preventive measures the two countries were taking," read the statement. "Bilateral cooperation between interested agencies and organizations were discussed, in particular, the prospects for cooperation regarding the Russian vaccine, including distribution and production in Israel.
Israel was early to sign with U.S pharmaceutical giant Moderna Inc for its potential vaccine, reaching an agreement in June. Last week it signed another deal with Pfizer Inc. Both companies have reported encouraging trial results.
Israel is also developing its own vaccine that, if successful, could be market-ready by the end of the summer.
"My goal is to bring as many vaccines from as many sources to as many citizens, as quickly as possible," Netanyahu said.