Biden congratulates Israel's Bennett in telephone call

Biden phones new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and offers ‘unwavering commitment’ to Israel’s security

  • Biden, who is traveling in Europe, congratulated Bennett in a phone call 
  • He also congratulated Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the power-sharing deal
  • ‘Israel has no better friend than the United States,’ Biden said
  • Biden spoke multiple times with Benjamin Netanyahu during Israel’s 11-day war with Hamas last month

US President Joe Biden on Sunday offered incoming Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett his ‘warm congratulations’ in telephone talks, the White House said, after an alliance of parties ousted Benjamin Netanyahu and formed a new government.

‘I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet,’ Biden said in a statement issued shortly before the call.

‘Israel has no better friend than the United States.’

‘Israel has no better friend than the United States’: President Joe Biden has congratulated incoming Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett

Bennett responded not long afterwards on Twitter, saying: ‘Thank you Mr. President! I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations.’

In the telephone talks, Biden ‘highlighted his decades of steadfast support for the US-Israel relationship and his unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,’ the White House said.

‘The president also conveyed that his administration intends to work closely with the Israeli government on efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians,’ it added.

‘The leaders agreed that they and their teams would consult closely on all matters related to regional security, including Iran,’ the White House noted.

Bennett (right) will be prime minister until September 2023 before handing the power over to Yair Lapid (left), the leader of centrist Yesh Atid party, for a further two years as part of a power-sharing deal

Yair Lapid is set to become the Prime Minister in 2023 in a power-sharing deal. Pictured: Lapid arrives for the parliamentary meeting on Sunday before the vote.

Israelis celebrate in Tel Aviv with foam as the new government is sworn in on Sunday night

Hundreds of people gathered for a foam party in Tel Aviv in celebration of the vote, with many dancing and cheering 

Bennett said he considers Biden ‘a great friend of the State of Israel,’ according to a readout from his team.

A right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire, Bennett is taking over at the helm of an Israeli government pieced together by an eight-party coalition, united only by their shared disdain for the hawkish right-wing Netanyahu.

In a Knesset speech before the vote, the 49-year-old Bennett promised the new government, a coalition of ideologically divergent parties, ‘represents all of Israel.’

Separately, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin congratulated Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, who will remain in his post in the new government.

Austin said he ‘looks forward to continuing the important cooperation and dialogue with Minister Gantz to deepen the US-Israel strategic partnership,’ adding: ‘The US commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.’ 

Biden didn’t speak to Netanyahu for nearly a month after his own inauguration Jan. 20th.  

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