Netanyahu calls Nikki Haley a ‘tsunami of fresh air’ at UN


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, that she was like a “tsunami of fresh air” at the body.

“I wanted to tell you how much we appreciate the defense of Israel and the truth that the president and you bring into these cloistered halls that are so damp, you know, with anti-Israel venom,” Netanyahu said Thursday in his meeting with Haley at the United Nations in New York. “It’s not a breath of fresh air, it’s like a tsunami of fresh air.”

The U.S. and Israeli delegations to the United Nations have worked closely for decades to combat the institution’s anti-Israel bias, but Haley, with President Donald Trump’s blessing, has made it a focus of her ambassadorship. She has blocked the appointment of Palestinian officials to U.N.-affiliated groups, pulled the U.S. out of the world body’s cultural arm for failing to recognize the Western Wall as holy to Jews and vocally pushed back against bias in a number of forums.

“It’s amazing,” Haley told Netanyahu.

“I mean, really, it was just abusive before, and I think I’ve told you that before. I mean, I feel bad for [Israeli Ambassador] Danny [Danon] and what he’s had to put up with but it was abusive before,” she said. “But it’s actually starting to get a little bit better. I mean, they don’t want to get yelled at, right? So they just realized that.”

Netanyahu and Haley also discussed the threat posed by Iran.

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