Obama defends relationship with Netanyahu ahead of visit

(JNS.org) U.S. President Barack Obama on Israeli television Thursday addressed his reportedly tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the leaders have “a terrific, businesslike relationship” that is “blunt” at times. The two leaders “get stuff done” despite their differences, Obama told Channel 2 News.

President Barack Obama speaks with Yonit Levy on Israeli Channel 2 News on Thursday. Credit: Ambassador Dan Shapiro Facebook page.

One major area of disagreement between Obama and Netanyahu has been the setting of a “red line” that, if crossed, would prompt U.S. military action against Iran over its nuclear program. Obama has thus far resisted Netanyahu’s calls for a red line, calling them “noise” in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” last year.

On Thursday, Obama told Channel 2 News that “it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close.”

“So when I’m consulting with Bibi as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: ‘If we can resolve it diplomatically that is a more lasting solution. But if not, I continue to keep all options on the table,’” Obama said.

Posted on March 15, 2013 .