On Wednesday, Joe Biden finally called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many suggested that the President was snubbing Israel’s leader, as, whilst his predecessor Donald Trump called Netanyahu just two days after his inauguration, Biden snubbed him for 28 days. Despite the long wait, Netanyahu didn’t seem too bothered, as a few days ago Ambassador Gilan Erdad said “The prime minister is not worried about the timing of the conversation.” However, other Israeli officials did seem agitated. Ambassador Danny Danon, for example, tweeted at Joe Biden with the prime minister’s phone number, asking ‘Might it now be time to call the leader of #Israel, the closest ally of the #US?’
Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken are stirring up controversy as they distance America from many of its allies abroad, one of which is Israel. Under Trump, the USA and Israel worked constructively together to try and create a more peaceful Middle East, resulting in the Former President being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after orchestrating three peace agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan.
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During the call, Netanyahu and Biden discussed Iran and Israel’s improving relations with Arab countries. “The two leaders noted their longstanding personal connection,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. Biden apparently told Netanyahu that he plans on strengthening America’s defence cooperation with Israel, though, since it took so long for Biden to even call Netanyahu, it is questionable whether Biden is serious about this.
One suggestion as to why Biden took so long to call Netanyahu is that he doesn’t want to give the prime minister a boost before Israel’s upcoming elections, which take place on 31st march. The elections will see Netanyahu’s Likud party face off with the Yesh Atid party, the Blue and White party, and the Joint List party, amongst others.
Tense relations between the Biden Administration and Middle eastern US-allies seem to be becoming more common. Biden still hasn’t called the de-facto ruler and Crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman, and Turkey’s President Erdoğan recently gave a speech in which he accused the US of supporting PKK terrorists. Turkey is a vital ally of America as it has the second largest army in NATO.