(JNS.org) In saying goodbye to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said the two countries have “had some differences of opinion” in recent years, characterizing the stormy relationship between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Rivlin spoke Tuesday with Shapiro, who is expected to stay in Israel for a few months after his term ends Jan. 20.
“Although from time to time we have had some differences of opinion, friends will take care one of each other, and sometimes criticize one of each other, but we have done that as friends, and the people of Israel appreciate this very much,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin presented Shapiro with a letter to Obama, in which he thanked the departing president for his “continuing concern over the last eight years, for Israel’s safety and our ability to carry the burden of security” referring to the $38 billion military aid package the two countries signed last year. “You ensured that we could always feel confident that our needs in this area were a priority for your administration,” he said.
In his remarks to Shapiro, Rivlin made no mention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which outraged Israel when it passed last month. The measure condemns Israel’s settlement policy, claims that Israel’s sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem and West Bank Jewish communities is illegal under international law, and describes the Old City of Jerusalem—including the Western Wall and Temple Mount, the holiest sites for the Jewish people—as “occupied Palestinian territory.”
U.S. congressional efforts are underway to repeal the U.N. resolution and cut off funding of the U.N. until the resolution is rescinded.
Shapiro told Rivlin that it was a “great honor…to work with the Israeli government and make this relationship as strong as it can possibly be.”