Netanyahu responds to Trump’s “F**k him” remarks, defends congratulating Biden

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday responded to an interview in which Donald Trump accused him of disloyalty, saying Israel’s alliance with the U.S. meant “it was important for me to congratulate the incoming president.”

What they’re saying: In an interview for my book “Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East,” Trump fumed over a video Netanyahu sent congratulating Biden for his victory. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” Trump said. “F**k him.”

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In a statement Friday, Netanyahu said:

“I highly appreciate President Trump’s big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of the strong alliance between Israel and the U.S. and therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming President.”

Why it matters: Now opposition leader, Netanyahu is waging a continuous campaign to win back the prime minister’s office while on trial for corruption.

  • One of his primary political calling cards is his close relationship with key players in U.S. politics, and with one man in particular who remains hugely popular in Israel: Trump.

  • Trump told me that by the end of his presidency, he had concluded that Netanyahu didn’t really want peace with the Palestinians and was using him on Iran.

What’s next: My interview with Trump will feature in a new season of Axios’ “How It Happened” podcast, to be released on Monday. Subscribe.

Go deeper: Read the full Trump interview.

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