Tags: Donald Trump | Israel | donald trump | netanyahu | phone call | anti-semitism | attacks

Trump Discusses Iran, Anti-Semitism with Netanyahu

Image: Trump Discusses Iran, Anti-Semitism with Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 06 Mar 2017 04:48 PM

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone Monday to discuss Iran and Trump's response to recent anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, according to press reports.

The phone call came as Netanyahu was being questioned by police for the fourth time over a corruption probe.

A White House official told CNN that Netanyahu thanked Trump for "his strong stand against anti-Semitism in his joint address" to Congress last week.

Trump had previously come under fire for not talking about the the spate of threats against Jewish centers and schools across the United States, as well as vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.

Trump led off his Tuesday speech to Congress saying, "Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."

The Times of Israel, quoting the prime minister's office, reported that Trump and Netanyahu spoke "at length" on the "dangers emanating from Iran and Iranian aggression in the region and the need to work together to deal with these threats."

Netanyahu also thanked Trump for the warm welcome he received during his recent visit to Washington and for his "forceful statement against anti-Semitism" at the address to Congress.

The call occurred not long after Netanyahu sat down with police investigators at his residence in Jerusalem, one aide said, Netanyahu briefly excused himself to speak with Trump.

Netanyahu, 67, is a suspect in two cases, one involving the receipt of gifts from businessmen and the other related to conversations he held with an Israeli newspaper publisher about limiting competition in the news sector in exchange for more positive coverage.

No charges have been brought against Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009 and has denied wrongdoing.

A police spokeswoman said a statement would be released after the session.

"We are in the final stages," Police chief Roni Alsheich told reporters earlier about the investigation.

Once it is complete, police will decide whether to drop the case or recommend the attorney general bring charges.

As speculation bubbles, politicians from across the spectrum have begun maneuvering, believing early elections will probably have to be called if Netanyahu is indicted.

Such a move would most likely lead to his resignation. In 1993 the Supreme Court set a precedent for ministers to step down if they are charged with corruption.

It is possible someone from his Likud party could replace Netanyahu without a new vote, but many analysts think it unlikely, predicting an election would have to be called for September or November, depending on developments.

The opposition Labor party will hold primaries in July, former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon has launched his own party and Avi Dichter, the former head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency and a senior member of Likud, said on Saturday he would consider running for the party leadership.

"I am here to lead and will undoubtedly run for Likud leadership and the premiership," Dichter was quoted as saying, comments his spokesman said were not a challenge to Netanyahu and referred to future primaries.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone Monday to discuss the Iran and Trump's response to recent anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, according to press reports.
donald trump, netanyahu, phone call, anti-semitism, attacks
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2017-48-06
Monday, 06 Mar 2017 04:48 PM
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