Israeli government receives congratulations from White House, Congress, UAE
The United Arab Emirates also welcomed Israel’s new cabinet, but Hamas said it will continue to “resist” Israel no matter who is in power.
Amir Levy/Getty Images
Al-Monitor Staff
June 14, 2021
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress congratulated Israel’s new government, as did several world leaders.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his cabinet were sworn into office on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12-year-tenure as prime minister. The new cabinet, which includes both right-wing and leftist parties, is perhaps the most politically diverse in Israeli history. Bennett is the first observant Jew to hold the position of prime minister. The government is also the first to include an Arab party, represented by Raam.
The Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee said it looks forward to working with the new government “in friendship” and praised its diversity.
“Congratulations to the people of Israel on the formation of a new coalition government, the most diverse in Israel's history,” the committee wrote in a Sunday tweet.
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also lauded the government’s diverse makeup. He tweeted on Monday, “I congratulate the people of Israel on the swearing-in of their new government, representing a broad swath of parties & constituencies.”
Menendez and House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Gregory of Meeks of New York hold relatively pro-Israel views among Congressional Democrats. Many younger, more progressive Democrats are more supportive of the Palestinian cause.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also tweeted a congratulatory message to Bennett, writing on Sunday, “I look forward to working closely with him to prevent a nuclear Iran, to defend Israel’s sovereignty, and to strengthen the US-Israel friendship & alliance.”
US President Joe Biden also relayed warm wishes to Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and the rest of the cabinet in a statement on Sunday. Biden has been supportive of Israel throughout his career, but has also criticized Netanyahu at times. The two differed on the Iran nuclear deal in particular. Biden’s statement did not mention Netanyahu.
In his parting speech, the outgoing prime minister compared Biden’s views on Iran to the Holocaust and said he refused to keep silent on the Iranian nuclear issue.
"The administration in Washington asked me not to discuss our disagreement on Iran publicly, but with all due respect, I can’t do that,” said Netanyahu.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, which signed a normalization deal with Israel in 2020, congratulated both Bennett and Lapid.
“The #UAE congratulates Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the formation of a new #Israeli government,” the Emirati Foreign Ministry tweeted on Monday.
Last month’s violence in Israel and Palestine complicated the UAE’s newfound friendship with Israel.
The Palestinian political and military organization Hamas, which fought Israel during the May war, said it will continue to “resist” no matter who is prime minister, according to a spokesman for the Gaza-based group.
“Whatever the form of the government is, this will not change the way we deal with the Israeli occupation as we have to resist with all possible ways and all shapes of resistance,” said Fawzy Barhoom, the Hamas-affiliated Safa news outlet reported.
Several other world leaders also congratulated the new government, including in Russia and India.
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