Barack Obama, the man Bibi Netanyahu tried so hard to help defeat last November, was the first foreign leader to phone the prime minister to congratulate him on last week’s election victory.
Officially, Netanyahu hasn’t formed the new government so other leaders may be holding back with their calls until then, although the Likud Beiteinu leader’s party was the largest vote-getter and will have the first and best chance to form a new coalition.
The right wing in Israel has been whining that Obama should have phoned right away instead of waiting almost a week. Maybe it took Obama that long to get over his disappointment with the election results. And at least he called, and that’s more than can be said for other world leaders, several of whom Netanyahu has also had strained relations with.
Here’s the White House readout on the call:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2013
Readout of the President’s Call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu
President Obama spoke today by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu to congratulate him on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats in Israel’s recent election. The President indicated that the United States looks forward to working with the next government. He also reiterated his commitment to the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and pledged to work closely with Israel on our shared agenda for peace and security in the Middle East.