Israeli leaders congratulate Obama


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli leaders congratulated President Obama on his reelection.

"The strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a short statement issued Wednesday morning in Israel shortly after Obama delivered his victory speech. "I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel."

Netanyahu met Wednesday afternoon with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. Netanyahu told Shapiro during the meeting that security relations between Israel and the United States remain firm, and that he was looking forward to orking with Obama on strengthening U.S.-Israeli ties and promoting peace and security, Haaretz reported.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement congratulating Obama as well as "all of the Senators and Members of Congress who were elected by the American people in an exemplary display of democracy."

“I have no doubt that the Obama administration will continue its policy — whereby Israel’s security is at its very foundations — as well as its efforts to tackle the challenges facing all of us in the region; all the while continuing to strive for further progress in the peace process," Barak said in a statement issued Wednesday morning in Israel. "I believe that in the tradition of deep friendship and with a backdrop of shared experiences accrued with President Obama, it also will be possible to overcome any differences in stance should they arise.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman also congratulated Obama. "Together with President Obama we will continue nurturing and maintaining the great friendship between the two countries and peoples," he said, according to Ynet. "We will continue working together to strengthen Israel and protect its essential strategic interests."

Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich also sent a letter of congratulations to Obama. "I have a lot of appreciation for your attempts to bring about change in American society, its agenda, and the values you promote — international values such as equality, fair economy, and accountability to citizens."

Yachimovich also wished the president "success in your efforts to promote processes of peace and freedom around the world. We in Israel expect to continue the special relationship between Israel and America, which are real friends and allies. We hope your global leadership will create a better and safer future for in our region and in the entire world."

President Shimon Peres, in Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, praised Obama and the election. "The U.S. elections were a first-class democratic event. It was a complex election campaign, but one that was fascinating to follow. I am convinced that President Obama will serve a future of peace and prosperity, and from Russia I send my full appreciation and congratulations to the American people and the elected president," he said.

Later, in a letter sent to the president and released publicly, Peres added that "Israel and America are bound together by the values and principles that they share, and the ties of friendship that link our two countries and peoples are historical and unbreakable. I thank you for your unprecedented commitment and support for the security of Israel in your first term. I know that the United States under your leadership will continue to do so in the future, facing the Iranian nuclear challenge in the way you have outlined, as well as working together to achieve peace with our neighbors."

Shapiro on his Facebook page offered his congratulations to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on their reelection. He also offered "Congratulations to America on another election."

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