Netanyahu warmly congratulates Biden, thanks Trump for friendship with Israel and ‘me personally’

Other Israeli leaders congratulated President-elect Biden, calling him a great friend of Israel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent warm congratulations to president-elect Joe Biden Sunday morning on his ostensible victory in the U.S. elections, even though President Donald Trump had yet to concede the race.

“Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel,” he tweeted.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also referenced the countries’ close ties in his own message commending the Democratic challenger on the victory announced Saturday night by all the major American media outlets.

“Mr. President-elect, as a long-standing friend of Israel, you are now the leader of the free world and of the State of Israel’s closest and most important ally,” he said. “The strategic alliance between our two countries and peoples is stronger than any political leadership, and is not based solely on friendship. It is rooted deeply in our shared values and in our long-standing commitment to freedom and democracy as the foundations of our societies.”

“On behalf of the Israeli people,” Rivlin added, “I wish you and your future administration great success, and extend my invitation to you to visit Jerusalem as our guest.”

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz noted the historic aspect of the election in his own congratulatory tweet.

“As the election results become final, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Joe Biden, a long-time supporter and friend of Israel, and to his running mate, Kamala Harris, who has made history as the first woman elected VP,” he wrote.

Harris broke several barriers in becoming vice-president-elect, as she is the first black woman and South Asian-American to attain the second-most powerful position in the United States. Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, will become the first Jewish Second Gentleman of the United States.

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All three also thanked President Trump for his support of the Jewish state. Rivlin sufficed with a brief acknowledgement of “four years of partnership in strengthening Israel’s security,” but Netanyahu and Gantz were more fulsome in their praise.

“Thank you Donald Trump for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights,” Netanyahu posted in a separate tweet.

Gantz called Trump “a valuable partner of the State of Israel, committed to its security and invested in its future,” and added, “The Middle East has taken major steps forward thanks to the president’s bold leadership over these four years, and for that we are immensely grateful.”