U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday night to personally congratulate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for becoming the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history.
"Congratulations to Bibi Netanyahu on becoming the longest serving PM in the history of Israel," Trump wrote. "Under your leadership, Israel has become a technology powerhouse and a world class economy." In a second tweet, he added, "Most importantly you have led Israel with a commitment to the values of democracy, freedom, and equal opportunity that both our nations cherish and share!"
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Netanyahu responded with a tweet of his own: "Thank you, president Trump, for your warm words, outstanding support & incredible friendship. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with you. Under your leadership, we’ve made the alliance between our two remarkable countries stronger than ever. I know there’s more to come."
Trump has used his social media to display his affinity for Netanyahu in the past, including reposting a picture from Netanyahu's Instagram showing a Likud party billboard of the two leaders shaking hands, during the last election. A White House official later denied that uploading the picture constituted a political endorsement.
"It's no secret that President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a strong relationship based upon mutual respect and that they reflect the mutual admiration and affection of the American and Israeli people," the official noted.
In late May, when Netanyahu's coalition talks were in jeopardy, Trump tweeted that he was "Hoping things will work out with Israel's coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. A lot more to do!"
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Officials and experts noted that the president's intervention in Israeli politics was unprecedented and exceptional. A former official at the Prime Minister's Office called it "unseemly," and said that while previous U.S. presidents also intervened in Israeli politics, Trump’s aid to Netanyahu “takes it to a whole new level.”