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Biden (L) with Netanyahu in 2010. Photo: Baz Ratner-Pool/Getty Images

President-elect Biden spoke on the phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as part of series of congratulatory phone calls with leaders around the world.

The big picture: The order in which these calls are returned by an incoming president is closely watched. Biden called Netanyahu and Rivlin after speaking with the leaders of nine other U.S. allies over the past few days.

Flashback: President Trump spoke with Netanyahu the day after he was elected in 2016, along with the leaders of several other countries including Egypt. America's closest European allies were left waiting a bit longer.

  • Biden, by contrast, started with Canada and then moved to U.S. allies in Europe (France, Germany, the U.K., Ireland and Italy) and the Asia-Pacific (Australia, Japan and South Korea). Biden also spoke with Pope Francis.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a call with Biden shortly after Netanyahu's.
  • Between the lines: That might be an indication that Biden skipped over America's other Middle East allies, perhaps to emphasize the importance of working with fellow democracies.

What they're saying:

  • It is unclear whom Biden called first, but Rivlin was first to issue a statement: “As a long-standing friend of the State of Israel, you know that our friendship is based on values that are beyond partisan politics and that we have no doubt that, under your leadership, the United States is committed to Israel’s security and success."
  • Rivlin added he hoped to work with Biden “to build further bridges and hope across the region as the recently signed Abraham Accords have done." He invited Biden for a meeting in Jerusalem and asked him to also convey his best wishes to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
  • After his own 20-minute call with Biden, Netanyahu issued a statement referring for the first time to Biden as “the President-elect." Netanyahu said Biden stressed in the call that he is deeply committed to Israel’s security.

What’s next: Netanyahu said in his statement that he and Biden agreed to meet soon in order to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Go deeper: Incoming Israeli ambassador will have to win over Democrats

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia denies Netanyahu met secretly with crown prince

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif at a press conference on Nov. 18. Photo: Menahem Kahana/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled in secret Sunday to the city of Neom on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli sources told me.

The latest: Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan on Monday denied the meeting took place — a signal that the Saudis may be unhappy with the leak or are at least trying to publicly distance themselves from the meeting. Netanyahu, on the other hand, has not denied the story.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

13 hours ago - World

NZ's Jacinda Ardern becomes the latest world leader to congratulate Biden

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden in a phone call, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is still refusing to acknowledge the U.S. election win.

Driving the news: Biden's transition team said in a statement late Sunday he "expressed his intent to strengthen the U.S.-New Zealand partnership" and looked forward to working closely on challenges including containing COVID-19, tackling climate change and "reinforcing multilateralism."