U.S. President Barack Obama has been inaugurated to his second term as the nation’s 44th president. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is hoping for his own reelection in the country’s upcoming election Tuesday, congratulated Obama and expressed hope the two would continue to “work together.” There have been ongoing reports of disagreement between the two leaders.
After being formally sworn in Sunday at the White House, Obama gave his inaugural address to 700,000 people Monday. Though he did not mention Israel, Obama emphasized his administration “will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
Just days ago Jewish American columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported Obama has said in private conversations that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are” when it comes to construction beyond the Green Line. Netanyahu responded in an interview that he is “confident that President Obama understands that only a sovereign Israeli government can determine what Israel’s interests are.”
“There are good reasons to believe that tension between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will continue to simmer during their respective terms,” wrote Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine Jonathan S. Tobin. “The disconnect between the president’s view of the region and the consensus of the overwhelming majority of Israelis about the future of the peace process has created a gap between the two countries that continues to cause trouble. The fact that the two men don’t like each other also doesn’t help.”