Tensions surface between Israeli President and PM

The long-simmering tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin bubbled to the surface on Wednesday, with Rivlin telling a popular radio program that he had not met with Netanyahu in two months.


In an interview with Army Radio, Rivlin said he used to meet with the prime minister once a month for regular briefings. “I think we’ve exhausted our differences vis-à-vis our relations with the different international systems,” he said. “Until these things are off the agenda, it seems we don’t need to meet because it seems each one is busy with the same matters aimed at [advancing the interests] of the State of Israel.”


Rivlin’s somewhat obscure reference to “relations with international systems” relates to strong differences with Netanyahu about Israeli policy toward the United States on the nuclear deal with Iran.


Asked whether Netanyahu was endangering Israel’s alliance with the US, the president said the friendship between the two countries “is not just historical, it’s strategic, and it’s a solid foundation.”


Rivlin has been openly critical of Netanyahu’s aggressive attempts to derail US congressional approval of the deal.


“I tell him (Netanyahu), and reiterate again, struggles, even justified ones, that can ultimately come at the expense of the State of Israel are things we need to be very careful of and resist on a personal level,” Rivlin said in an interview with the daily Haaretz last month.


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