Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated President Barack Obama on Wednesday for winning a second term in office and described the strategic alliance between their two countries as “rock solid.”
“I want to congratulate President Obama on his reelection,” Netanyahu said during a televised appearance with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro. “I think the United States of America again demonstrated why it’s the greatest democracy on earth. . . . The security relationship between the United States and Israel is rock solid, and I look forward to working with President Obama to further strengthen this relationship. And I look forward to working with him to advance our goals of peace and security,” the prime minister added.
Other Israeli officials and politicians from all political factions also weighed in on Obama’s victory. Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated Obama and expressed confidence in the president’s commitment to ensuring Israel’s safety and security. “I have no doubt that the Obama government will continue with its policy that is based on support for the security of Israel and which strives to cope with the challenges the region places in front of all of us, while striving for progress in the peace process,” Barak said. “I believe that in the tradition of deep friendship and on the backdrop of shared experiences accumulated with President Obama, we will be able to overcome any of our differences,” he added.
President Shimon Peres congratulated Obama on his election victory, calling him an “exceptional” man and saying he “represents the future,” Voice of Israel public radio reported. Obama “cares for the peace of all, and makes sure that all the poor are healthy and fed,” Peres said, speaking at an academic ceremony.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also expressed optimism. “Together with President Obama we will continue to promote and safeguard the robust friendship between our countries and nations, which is based on shared values,” he said. “We will continue to act together with the U.S. for the strengthening of the State of Israel and for protecting its vital strategic interests.”
Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon also offered his congratulations to Obama, but urged him to “change course” and visit Israel. “It is my hope, and that of many Israelis, that the president resets his course relating to Israel and our region for the next four years,” Danon said. “Rather than dictating ill-advised policies that endanger the well-being of America’s only true ally in the Middle East, now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of ‘zero daylight’ between our nations.”
Specifically, Danon urged Obama to focus on Iran “instead of wasting time and resources to impose housing zoning laws on Israel,” a reference to disagreements over Israeli policies in Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich, Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On, and leader of Yesh Atid Yair Lapid, among others, issued similar congratulatory messages.
The relationship between Israel and the United States has tensed significantly since Obama took office four years ago, with Republicans attempting to seize upon the president’s countless affronts to the Jewish state in an effort to elect Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (Arutz Sheva) v