Netanyahu and Obama. Feeling the pressure? (Archives)
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PM to ministers: Don't talk about Obama

Following series of undiplomatic statements by Likud MKs, Netanyahu orders party's lawmakers not to comment on US president's re-election without coordinating statements with his office

US President Barack Obama's re-election was celebrated almost everywhere around the world Wednesday, while in Israel members of the Likud party rushed to expressed their disappointment, some publicly and some anonymously.


Following the negative responses, Ynet has learned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all of his party's ministers and Knesset members to avoid commenting on Obama's re-election without coordinating their statements with the Prime Minister's Office.


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Knesset Member Danny Danon was one of the first to express his disappointment with the election results, saying that Obama cannot be trusted. "The State of Israel will not surrender to Obama. We have no one to rely on but ourselves," he argued.


Another Likud lawmaker said that "Obama is not good for Israel and we're concerned that he will try to pressure Israel into making concessions because of his chilly relationship with Netanyahu."


According to a senior Likud official, the Prime Minister's Office was alarmed by the negative reactions to Obama's re-election, which could intensify the cold relationship between the two leaders – and therefore decided to begin damage control and prevent uncoordinated responses.


On Wednesday afternoon, the ministers' spokespersons and advisors received text messages from Netanyahu's office, asking them not to comment about Obama's re-election. The Likud spokespersons were requested to stick with the statements issued by Netanyahu's office.


During the US election campaign, Netanyahu took a stand which many in the political system saw as gross intervention in America's internal affairs. He hosted Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Israel and was even included in the Republican Party's election ads.


Interior Minister Eli Yishai, chairman of the Shas party, was the first minister to admit Wednesday that Obama's re-election did not benefit Netanyahu. "This is probably not a very good morning for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Yishai said during a local authority spokespersons' conference in Eilat.


Asked whether Israel was wrong to intervene in the US elections, he responded: "I don't know if Israel interfered in the elections or not, but in general we should not interfere in elections taking place in another country."


President Shimon Peres, who is visiting Russia, was also asked whether did not damage Israel's relationship with the US by interfering in the American election campaign.


"There are many wise people in Israel and there are many people who think differently. I prefer to be part of the right minority than of the wrong majority," the president replied.


Former Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni wrote on her Facebook page that she congratulates Obama, "who moved America once again. The US has put its future in Obama's hands, and that means a lot as far as we are concerned as well.


"Israel's security is based on the strategic relations between Israel and the US, which are also built on the trust between leaders that is missing today. Self-examination and deep reparation are required."


Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent



פרסום ראשון: 11.07.12, 13:55
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