JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to repair the damaged relations with U.S. President Barack Obama.
“I think they are very similar in nature, and are able to upset each other,” Rivlin told the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot in an interview, one of several he gave this week to the Israeli media. “But it is not good they annoy each other at the expense of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he said.
“There are three principles to Israel’s foreign policy,” Rivlin told the Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper. “First, relations with the U.S.; second, relations with the U.S.; and the third principle, relations with the US.”
“We also need the world, even though many times we don’t agree with it,” he said.
Both newspapers reported excerpts of the interviews, which come at the end of Rivlin’s first year in office, on Thursday. The full articles will appear in the Friday editions. The interviews come as Obama is working to secure U.S. congressional approval of the Iran nuclear deal, reached last month between Iran and six major powers, which offers sanctions relief for nuclear restriction and as Netanyahu works to counter the deal. Both leaders have addressed representatives of the Jewish community in the past week.
“The prime minister has waged a campaign against the U.S. as if the two sides were equal,” Rivlin told Maariv, according to its sister newspaper, the Jerusalem Post. “And this is liable to hurt Israel itself. I must say that he understands the U.S. better than I do, but, nonetheless, I must say that we are quite isolated internationally.”
Rivlin acknowledged that Israel is “in great crisis,” over the two attacks last week, the firebombing of a Palestinian home that left a baby dead, and the stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade that left a teen dead.
Rivlin spoke out against the attacks, and received threats against him in return. “I’m not afraid of them, and I won’t be deterred by them,” he told Maariv.
“The perpetrators of these acts hurt us more than anyone else,” Rivlin told Yediot. “If we’re all silent about these things, we’re all complicit.”