After three weeks in office, President Joe Biden still hasn’t called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Washington Post reported that Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama had reached the prime minister within days of being sworn in.
And the newspaper pointed out that some in Israel are already speculating the lack of a call is part of a diplomatic snub by Biden.
But according to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu said Biden is phoning world leaders “as he sees fit,” and maintained they’ll likely speak when he starts reaching out to Middle Eastern leaders.
“Our alliance is strong,” says Netanyahu, while acknowledging some differences of opinion.
The Post said Netanyahu has noted that he called Biden soon after he was declared the winner in November and that the two have known each other for decades. Officials in both countries dismiss the idea that the lack of a Biden call is a rebuke of Israel by the administration.
“There’s no reason for any drama,” said Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel under Obama. “Biden took office at a time of national emergency that no president has faced since FDR. The calls he has conducted reflect those priorities.”
But Aviv Bushinsky, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and media adviser, said of the prime minister: “There is no doubt that he is not happy about this. I think Netanyahu will see it as a lack of respect.”
Former Israeli ambassador Danny Danon tweeted out that Biden has called the leaders of ten nations, including Germany, Russia, and Canada.
“Might it now be time to call the leader of Israel, the closest ally of the US?” he wrote.
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