Netanyahu among 13 leaders Obama calls post-election


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of 13 world leaders that President Obama called to thank for congratulatory messages following his reelection.

"In each call, he thanked his counterpart for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead," the White House said Thursday in a statement.

In his own statement, Netanyahu said he told Obama that his reelection was "a vote of confidence in your leadership."

Netanyahu and Obama have had a relationship notable both for enhanced defense cooperation between their countries and for some tense periods, particularly over Israel’s settlement building and what red lines are appropriate in dealing with Iran.

Middle Eastern leaders in addition to Netanyahu who were called included President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

The Obama administration is coordinating closely with Turkey on how to deal with the unrest in Syria, and Saudi Arabia, like Israel, is a principal regional ally in the bid to isolate Iran until it stands down from a suspected nuclear weapons program.

Obama is navigating an uneasy course with Morsi, the former Muslim Brotherhood leader who has demonstrated ambivalence if not hostility toward sustaining the peace treaty with Israel.  

The other leaders on Obama’s call list mostly included allies, including from Germany, France and Britain, as well as the secretary-general of the NATO alliance.

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