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President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) at the White House, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack on Congress, which came as it was certifying the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden, and stressed that American democracy will prevail.

Why it matters: Netanyahu, who has been President Trump’s most loyal ally among world leaders, delivered the statement at the top of his meeting in Jerusalem with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The prime minister neither criticized Trump nor referred to him directly.

Between the lines: Netanyahu usually responds quickly to world events but waited for more than 12 hours before commenting on events at the U.S. Capitol.

  • He also waited hours to congratulate Biden after U.S. television networks had called the election.
  • Israel defense minister Benny Gantz condemned the attack on the Capitol shortly after it took place and foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi condemned it within a few hours.

What they are saying: Netanyahu said that he was always inspired by American democracy and stressed that violence is the opposite of American and Israeli values.

  • “The rampage of the Capitol building in Washington was a disgraceful act, and it must be condemned. I have no doubt that the American democracy will prevail”, Netanyahu said.
  • Mnuchin also condemned the attack on the Capitol as “unacceptable,” adding: “Now is the time to respect the democratic process”.

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - World

Israel's COVID crisis deepens even as the vaccination rate climbs

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters clash with security forces over lockdown enforcement Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to declare victory over the pandemic before the elections on March 23, but new fast-spreading variants of COVID-19 have dashed those hopes.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's main political vulnerability is his handling of the pandemic. He has acknowledged that his poll numbers will be directly connected to the rates of vaccinations, new infections and deaths, as well as his ability to reopen the economy.

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Israel's chief epidemiologist creates diplomatic incident with UAE

Israeli travelers arrive in Dubai. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

A remark by Israel’s chief epidemiologist suggesting the opening of direct flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv had led to COVID-19 deaths in Israel resulted in diplomatic protests from the UAE, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Direct flights were one of the main fruits of the Israel-UAE peace treaty, and around 130,000 Israeli tourists have taken advantage by flying to Dubai since December.

Jan 27, 2021 - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.