ISRAELI president Reuven Rivlin has extended an invitation to US President-elect Joe Biden “to visit Jerusalem as our guest”.
At the time of press, Biden had 290 electoral college votes to President Donald Trump’s 214 – which despite Trump pursuing legal action to force recounts in some states – will all but ensure he is inaugurated as the United States’ 46th president in January.
At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.
“I have a long and warm personal connection with Joe Biden for nearly 40 years, and I know him as a great friend of the State of Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu also thanked Trump for “the great friendship he showed the State of Israel and me personally”, noting his administration’s moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, its recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory and its role in the historic Abraham Accords.
Closer to home, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison similarly called Biden “a great friend of Australia over many years” and wished him “every success” in office.
“The Australia–US alliance is enduring and built on shared democratic values,” he said, noting that 2021 will mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, which he called “the foundation of our security alliance”.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Jillian Segal noted Biden’s “long and affectionate relationship” with major US Jewish representative bodies and “sincere fondness” for the State of Israel.
“Every major Jewish communal leader in the US has heard Mr Biden’s warm recollections of meeting Golda Meir and is aware of his steadfast support for Israel,” she said.
“We sincerely hope that the Biden-Harris administration will advance its predecessors’ profoundly important advancements toward securing Israeli–Arab peace, and ending the cycle of war, misery and missed opportunities.
“We hope also that the new administration will fully grasp the malevolence of the Iranian regime and will avoid any steps that would empower the regime economically or diplomatically which would imperil the entire region.”
She added, “Most of all, we look to a Biden administration to foster a new national cohesion that will counter the rise of antisemitism and other forms of extremism in the US.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Colin Rubenstein urged the incoming administration “to sustain military and financial pressure on Iran’s regime to curtail its violent, destabilising activities”.
“It is also to be hoped that President-elect Biden will achieve a new deal which genuinely ends Tehran’s quest for nuclear weapons,” they said.
Noting Trump’s achievements in the Middle East, they added, “AIJAC expresses optimism that the new Biden administration can build on the Abraham Accords negotiated under the Trump administration, continuing to expand the circle of Arab and Muslim partners with Israel.”
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler noted that Biden “has a long and genuine friendship with Israel and proudly calls himself a Zionist, when some other Democratic leaders shy away from what is not and should not be a partisan term”.
“We also congratulate Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, on this historic victory – the first woman and woman of colour in the role,” he said.
“Ms Harris has deep ties to the Jewish community, and in her relatively short time on the national stage, has shown a strong support of Israel.”
Recognising the outgoing president for his support for Israel, he said “history will show” that it was under Trump that Israel signed treaties with the UAE and Bahrain with Sudan to follow, and that “it was Mr Trump that moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, fulfilling a Congressional request that three other presidents had failed to deliver”.