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Netanyahu (L) and Trump in 2020. Sarah Silbiger/Getty

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t tried reaching out to Donald Trump in the aftermath of the interview in which Trump said of Netanyahu, "f**k him," Netanyahu’s aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump's remarks, which came during my face-to-face interview with him in April and were published by Axios on Friday, quickly turned into a political and media firestorm in Israel that is only just subsiding. Many in Israel saw them as damaging to Netanyahu because it broke the myth that he and Trump were close allies.

  • Now opposition leader, Netanyahu is waging a continuous campaign to win back the prime minister's office despite being on trial for corruption. His "bromance" with Trump had been one of his political calling cards.
  • But Trump fumed during the interview about a video Netanyahu had posted congratulating Joe Biden on his election victory. "I haven’t spoken to him since," Trump said. "F**k him."

Driving the news: Netanyahu has kept silent on the issue other than a short statement last Friday in which he thanked Trump for his support to Israel but defended his decision to congratulate the incoming president.

  • One of Netanyahu's aides told me he “doesn’t want to touch this affair at the moment."
  • The aide said Netanyahu was sorry to hear Trump's remarks but still respects the former president and doesn't feel that there is bad blood on his side.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's supporters and political allies have taken to social media and TV studios to defend Netanyahu, saying he had no choice but to congratulate Biden and had put the interests of the country over his own political interests.

  • Netanyahu's supporters have also latched on to Trump's remark that Netanyahu "never wanted peace" with the Palestinians to stress that Netanyahu is the true leader of the Israeli right who was willing to stand up even to Trump in opposing the two-state solution.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2022 - World

Israel PM gambles on no lockdown strategy as cases climb

Naftali Bennett. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is facing growing criticism as Israel continues to set new records for daily COVID cases, but he's decided to try to ride out the fifth wave without new lockdowns.

Why it matters: Bennett has taken a big bet that the Israeli health system will be able to withstand the Omicron wave.

Updated Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy declines interview with Jan. 6 select committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday he will not participate with the Jan. 6 select committee's request to interview him about his communications with former President Trump.

Driving the news: McCarthy, the highest-ranking elected official the panel has asked for information, said that he had nothing to add and criticized the panel's "abuse of power."

Jan 12, 2022 - World

Ahead of Iran deal decision, White House to "focus the fire on Trump"

Jen Psaki briefs the press as Jake Sullivan looks on. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

With the Iran nuclear talks reaching a critical moment, the White House plans to focus much of its public messaging in the coming weeks on attacking former President Donald Trump for leaving the 2015 deal, two sources briefed on the White House plans told me.

Why it matters: The Biden administration thinks it's now just a matter of weeks before the critical decision point: Either a deal will be reached and the U.S. will return to the nuclear deal or talks will break down and the administration will move to put more pressure on Iran, the sources said.