Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday night and stressed cooperation against Iran despite the political turmoil inside Israel that will lead to a new election in October.
“Secretary Blinken underscored our respect for democratic processes and reiterated our unwavering commitment to the strong US-Israel strategic relationship, and our mutual concerns about Iran’s malign influence in the region,” the State Department said in a readout of the call.
Bennet and his Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid announced Monday that they would dissolve their coalition, setting up the fifth Israeli election since 2019. The move means Bennett, who took office in June 2021, will have served the shortest tenure of any prime minister in Israel’s history.
According to Bennett’s office, Blinken thanked the Israeli leader for “helping to strengthen the ties between Israel and the US and expressed appreciation for his leadership and statesmanship shown during his tenure.” Bennett stressed the importance of President Biden’s upcoming trip to the region, where he will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia.
Under Bennett’s watch, Israel strongly lobbied the Biden administration against rejoining the Iran nuclear deal and raised tensions with the Islamic Republic by carrying out more covert attacks. The political upheaval comes as Israel has stepped up assassinations inside Iran.
CNN reported Tuesday that Israel has kept the US in the dark about its latest covert operations inside Iran. But the US still tacitly endorses the covert operations by not condemning them or trying to stop them.
The new election in Israel sets a potential comeback for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett told Blinken that US-Israel ties should transcend political considerations, which Israeli media took as a possible shot at Netanyahu since he publicly aligned himself more with Republicans than Democrats.