by: Joshua Spurlock
Thursday, 11 April 2019 | While Benjamin Netanyahu has not been officially named prime minister of Israel for the fifth time yet, United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both personally called Netanyahu on Wednesday to congratulate him on his victory. Top rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party conceded to Netanyahu on Wednesday, according to Ha’aretz. With final votes still being tallied, Netanyahu’s Likud party was set to receive 35 seats in the 120-member Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset. While Blue and White were set to receive the same, Ha’aretz reported that right-leaning political parties had pledged support for Netanyahu, with his bloc expected to reach a 65-55 seat majority.
Trump took to Twitter to highlight his support for Israel and his congrats to Netanyahu: “Spoke to Bibi @ Netanyahu to congratulate him on a great and hard-fought win. The United States is with him and the People of Israel all the way!”
Over the phone, Trump “warmly congratulated” Netanyahu and Israel, according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office. The statement said Netanyahu in turn “thanked US President Trump for his great support of Israel,” listing the recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as well as Trump’s “strong stand against the Iranian regime.” In particular, Netanyahu noted Trump recently designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran a foreign terrorist designation.
Said the statement of the Netanyahu–Trump call, “The two leaders again expressed their appreciation for the abiding friendship between them and their countries. They agreed to continue closely working together in the coming years for both Israel and the United States.”
The connection between Trump and Netanyahu reaches even to politics. Trump posted to Twitter a photo of Trump flags being waved at Netanyahu’s election victory rally on Tuesday night.
Trump’s second-in-command, Vice President Pence, also called Netanyahu. According to a press release from the Israeli’s office, Pence told Netanyahu he “appreciates his leadership and joint work with US President Trump to advance the strong alliance between the US and Israel.”
In return, the statement noted that the Israeli leader thanked Pence “for his regards and for his friendship for the State of Israel over the years.”
A press release from the office of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin noted that discussions with the political parties on officially naming the next prime minister and forming the next government will begin next week. One of the few significant roles of the Israeli president, which is largely ceremonial, is to officially name the new prime minister of Israel.
Rivlin, in the press release, thanked the Central Election Committee and those who counted the votes on a successful election season. “You are the most professional and dedicated expression of how democracy works in Israel,” said Rivlin.
“Thanks to each one of you, we can be absolutely confident that the will of the people is given its most accurate expression, and that the right of the people to fair elections and accurate and verified information is upheld.”
Posted on April 11, 2019
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on April 10, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/wikipedia.org
Photo License: Wikipedia
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