Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry called Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his party winning a majority in the Israeli elections.
Obama has not called Netanyahu, Earnest explained, but would do so in “coming days,” declining to give a specific date.
In 2013, Obama waited until the new government was formed before calling to congratulate Netanyahu, but then-press secretary Jay Carney congratulated the “Israeli people” the morning after the election.
“Elections are a stage in a process in Israel, and the final results themselves are not yet in,” explained Carney at the time.
Earnest also signaled disappointment with the rhetoric used by the Netanyahu’s political party in the elections, accusing them of marginalizing Arab-Israeli citizens.
“The United States and this administration is deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens,” he said. “It undermines the values and Democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.”
Republicans have not waited to congratulate Netanyahu as potential 2016 presidential candidates have already voiced their support on Twitter.
Congratulations to @Netanyahu on a hard-earned victory. Now the U.S. and Israel must stand together and stand up to Iran
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 18, 2015
Congratulations to Prime Minister @netanyahu on his re-election. He’s a true leader who will continue to keep Israel strong and secure.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 18, 2015
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 18, 2015
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also congratulated Netanyahu on Twitter this morning.
I congratulate PM Netanyahu on his election results. We look fwd to working w/ the gov't once formed. Israel has no greater friend than Cda.
— Stephen Harper (@pmharper) March 18, 2015