President Biden’s meeting with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday was the latest in an often worrying 40-year relationship.
The two first had regular contact in the 1980s, when Mr. Biden was a senator and Mr. Netanyahu was Israel’s deputy ambassador to Washington. Mr. Biden has since spoken fondly of Mr. Netanyahu, despite their political differences, and once described giving him a photo with the warm caption: “Bibi, I don’t agree with what the hell you said, But I love you.”
Mr. Netanyahu, who returned to Israel to become prime minister in 1996 and lost the post three years later, said Mr. Biden was the only American politician to write to him after the election defeat. At a time of heightened friction between Mr. Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, Mr. Biden has often been tasked with de-escalating tensions.
Still, the relationship between Mr Biden and Mr Netanyahu has had its lows. Politically, the two have different views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr Biden supports the creation of a Palestinian state to resolve the conflict, while Mr Netanyahu has increasingly spoken out against his opposition to full Palestinian sovereignty.
In 2010, Mr. Netanyahu’s administration embarrassed Mr. Biden when he visited Israel — announcing construction The establishment of new settlements in East Jerusalem has hampered the Obama administration’s efforts to restart peace talks.
In 2015, Mr. Biden refuse to participate Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks in Congress were not notified to the White House after the Israeli leader accepted an invitation from House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican. The speech and Mr Biden’s absence intensified the debate between Mr Netanyahu and the Obama administration over what to do with Iran’s nuclear program.
After Mr. Biden was elected president in 2020, Mr. Netanyahu spent hours congratulating him — perhaps for fear of angering Donald J. Trump, with whom he has a strong relationship, analysts say president.
After taking office, Mr. Biden responded to the snub, spending weeks calling Mr. Netanyahu. But they spoke several times during last year’s Gaza war, before Mr. Netanyahu himself left the government a month later.
Mr. Biden’s meeting with Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday was more than a courtesy: Israel will take place Early elections in November — for the fifth time in less than four years — and Netanyahu, who is leading in the polls, could soon be back in power.
After Mr Biden arrived in the country on Wednesday, he and Mr Netanyahu greeted each other with a particularly long, strong handshake despite their past differences.
Their meeting took place while Mr Netanyahu was working on two court cases.On the one hand, he is facing corruption charges. On the other hand, he and his family Indicting his predecessor Ehud Olmertaccused Netanyahus of defamation after he described him as a “psychopath”.