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REACTIONS TO NEW ISRAELI GOVERNMENT

President Biden moves quickly to call Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, vows to ‘work closely’ with new Israeli government

At same time, US Secretary of State Blinken calls Yair Lapid, invites new Israeli foreign minister to Washington

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on a phone call with President Biden (Photo: GPO)

JERUSALEM—It took U.S. President Joe Biden more than one month after taking office to call then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite their friendship which goes back for more than 30 years.

However, it took Biden only a few minutes on Sunday evening to call and congratulate Naftali Bennett after he was sworn in as the 13th prime minister of the State of Israel.

Here is the office White House statement – known as a “read out” – on the call:

“President Biden spoke today with Prime Minister Bennett to offer his warm congratulations to Prime Minister Bennett on becoming Prime Minister of the State of Israel. President Biden highlighted his decades of steadfast support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and his unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. He expressed his firm intent to deepen cooperation between the United States and Israel on the many challenges and opportunities facing the region. The leaders agreed that they and their teams would consult closely on all matters related to regional security, including Iran. The President also conveyed that his administration intends to work closely with the Israeli government on efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Here is the Israeli Government Press Office read out on the call:

“The Prime Minister thanked President Biden for his warm wishes on the inauguration of the new government, and for his long-standing commitment to the State of Israel and its security. Prime Minister Bennett noted his appreciation for the President, and for his support for Israel during the recent operation in Gaza (Guardian of the Walls), and noted that he considers him a great friend of the State of Israel. In their conversation, the leaders emphasized the importance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, as well as their commitment to strengthening ties between the two countries, and maintaining the security of the State of Israel.”

Also on Sunday evening, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken moved quickly to call his new Israeli counterpart.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken warmly congratulated Yair Lapid today on Israel’s government formation and his appointment as Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price. “The Secretary and the Minister discussed the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security, the importance of maintaining a cessation of hostilities, opportunities to deepen and broaden normalization of diplomatic relations, the threat posed by Iran, and other regional priorities. Minister Lapid and Secretary Blinken acknowledged the strong partnership between the United States and Israel, and the Secretary noted that he looked forward to welcoming the Minister to Washington soon as the two governments work to build an even stronger relationship between our countries and our peoples.”

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