(PatriotHeadline.com)- In only his first month in office, President Joe Biden is taking a decidedly different approach to Israel than his predecessor did.
While Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said a call between Biden and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would take place “soon,” the two leaders haven’t spoken since Biden has taken office.
Biden has known Netanyahu for decades, once writing to him, “Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you say but I love you.”
Many people close to the president say that his lack of communication with the Israeli prime minister is, indeed on purpose. It’s meant to send a message that America won’t be keeping up the “Israel-centric policies” the U.S. employed during Donald Trump’s years in the White House.
Israel will surely remain America’s closest ally in the Middle East, but there are likely to be changes under Biden. Some people close to the president believe he’ll be pro-Israel but not as pro-Netanyahu as Trump was.
In almost direct contrast, Trump called Netanyahu in the first few days that he assumed control of the White House. Trump also was very much pro-Israel.
Some of the major moves he initiated was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and eventually moving the U.S. Embassy there. The U.S. also extended recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights only weeks before Netanyahu faced election.
The Biden administration hasn’t completely ignored Israel to this point. Both Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, and Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State, have talked on multiple occasions with their counterparts in Israel.
But as columnist Aaron David Miller wrote for CNN:
“The delay in calling Netanyahu also signals a likely shift in priorities: Not only is Biden dealing with the most challenging domestic recovery of any president since Franklin Roosevelt, but he also seems to view the Middle East, with the exception of Iran, as less of a central concern than China and Asia at large. Sullivan indicated as much by upsizing the national security staff on Asia and downsizing the Middle East.
“At the same time, make no mistake, Biden isn’t former President Barack Obama when it comes to Israel. He’s more like former President Bill Clinton, for whom support of Israel ran deep. For eight years, I watched Clinton demonstrate a profound pro-Israel sensibility, whether it came to Israeli security or his regard for the state that Israelis had created. Grieving at the funeral of the murdered prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, he would later write in his memories that he ‘had come to love (Rabin) as I had rarely loved another man.'”
It’s unlikely that Biden will share that same love for Netanyahu, but Miller suggests that he’s likely to play a middle ground between the Israeli policies under Clinton and Obama.
Part of that could be his general outlook on Netanyahu and Israel in general. But, part of it could also be that Israel is facing elections in just a few short weeks, and Biden doesn’t want to tip his hand just yet as to which candidates he’d prefer in office.