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Days before Israeli elections, Trump says he'll pursue U.S.-Israel defense treaty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Donald Trump; Benjamin Netanyahu. Photos: Getty Images

Three days before the Israeli elections, President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and agreed to work on a U.S.-Israel defense treaty after the election is over.

Why it matters: By making this statement, Trump directly intervened in the Israeli elections and sided with Netanyahu. Netanyahu has long sought a gesture from Trump that would help him win his reelection campaign. Trump's announcement was exactly the kind of support Netanyahu was looking for.

What they're saying:

"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries. I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month."
— Trump tweeted Saturday

Netanyahu issued a statement, praising Trump in response to the tweet, writing: "Thank you my dear friend President Trump. The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House. I look forward to our meeting at the UN to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United State and Israel. We will continue together with full force [against] our common battle against terrorism. Congratulations on your latest success against Bin Laden's son. God bless America. God bless Israel."

Go deeper: Trump won't release peace plan before Israel's election