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Israel's Bennett gets scolded by the White House

Refusing an Israeli request for a phone call between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden, the White House clarified the rules of the game and what kind of relationship they expect between the two leaders.
US President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Aug. 27, 2021.

The lesson that US President Joe Biden wanted to teach Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been learned and the two leaders will probably talk soon. That, at least, is the hope in Jerusalem. “The Americans punched Bennett in the nose,” a very senior diplomatic security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “This was a clear American signal about the rules of the game and the relationship they expect to see between the White House and the prime minister’s office. I think Bennett got the message.”

A clear indication that Bennett did, indeed, get the message can be found in his public silence in recent weeks on the issue of the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The harsh criticism that Bennett had publicly directed at the policy of the West, and specifically of the United States, has recently dropped below the radar and is conveyed, if at all, only behind closed doors. A senior political source speaking on condition of anonymity quoted last week Bennett on this specific issue, saying, “The point has been made. There’s no need to harp on it.”

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