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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump in the East Room of the White House in January. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

More than 12 hours after the U.S. television networks called the presidential race for Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations to the president-elect.

Why it matters: Israel is one of the main allies of the U.S., but Netanyahu’s congratulatory tweet came long after most leaders around the world had already congratulated Biden.

What he's saying: "Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel," Netanyahu said in his congratulatory tweet just after midnight ET.

  • In a separate Twitter post, Netanyahu thanked President Trump "for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally … and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights."
  • Minister of Defense Benny Gantz waited until after Biden’s speech to congratulate him. "I look forward to continuing to deepen the steadfast bond and strong defense ties between our peoples, as allies in the effort to strengthen democracy, stability, and peace worldwide," he tweeted.
  • President Reuven Rivlin said: "As a long-standing friend of Israel, you are now the leader of the free world and of the State of Israel’s closest and most important ally."

The big picture: Netanyahu was Trump’s closest ally around the world and has tense relations with the Democrats. Netanyahu waited to congratulate Biden in order not to upset Trump, but he will have a difficult challenge building trust with Biden.

Go deeper: World leaders congratulate Biden on election victory

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Dec 1, 2020 - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

1 hour ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals.