Trump invites Netanyahu to WH ‘at 1st opportunity’
United States President-elect Donald Trump wasted little time before inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for a visit – a stark contrast to the lack of hospitality extended by President Obama and his administration to the high-ranking Israeli official.
The prime minister’s office indicated that Trump’s phone invitation welcomed him to come to the White House as soon as he could get there.
“[Trump and Netanyahu], who have known each other for many years, had a warm, heartfelt conversation,” the statement from the Israeli leader’s office reads, according to the Times of Israel. “President-elect Trump invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to a meeting in the United States at the first opportunity.”
In response to the invitation, Netanyahu expressed that he and his wife Sara were looking forward to meeting with the new president-elect and his wife, Melania, in Washington, D.C.
It was also noted in the PM’s statement that regional issues in the Middle East between Israel and its hostile Islamic neighbors were briefly discussed in the phone conversation that took place Wednesday.
Before the invitation was extended, Netanyahu congratulated Trump earlier on Wednesday on his victory over Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, noting that the Republican president-elect is a welcomed ally.
“[You are] a true friend of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said to Trump in a statement. “We will work together to advance security, stability and peace in our region.”
The PM went on to express his appreciation that he and Trump are on the same page when it comes to recognizing and embracing the importance of the two-nation alliance – as well as the United States’ commitment to stand with Israel and its existence as a nation in the volatile Middle East.
“The bond between the US and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared future,” Netanyahu continued. “I am sure that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the U.S., and we will bring them to new heights.”
As another welcoming gesture, Netanyahu released a video later in the day on Wednesday, congratulating Trump for his landmark victory over his Democratic rival.
Several weeks ago, the prime minister of the Jewish State met with both Trump and Clinton without indicating which candidate he supported in the race to occupy the Oval Office.
“It doesn’t matter which of them will be elected, U.S. support of Israel will remain strong, our pact will remain strong and will even get stronger in the coming years,” Netanyahu expressed after his September meetings with the presidential nominees.
Vote of confidence
It is reported that before Netanyahu extended his vote of confidence to Trump on Wednesday – when the world was uncertain about who would become the next president of the United States – optimism about the future American-Israeli relationship was a bit more wavering.
“The prime minister’s statement on Wednesday came on the heels of statements expressing a mix of optimism and wariness by Israeli politicians – many of whom joined Netanyahu in stressing the continued strengthening of the US-Israel ties,” the Times of Israel reported.
In addition to the prime minister’s warm reception to the news of Trump’s win, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin congratulated the Republican victor, saying that the billionaire’s triumph demonstrates that the United States is the “greatest democracy.”
“There are many challenges that lie before you as president – at home and around the world,” Rivlin expressed to Trump in a statement. “Israel, your greatest ally, stands by you as your friend and partner in turning those challenges into opportunities.”