Agencies – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet following the first US presidential debate that as far as Israel is concerned, it does not matter who is elected.
“They both spoke of their support for Israel and the importance of bilateral relations between our two countries,” he said Tuesday at the start of a Cabinet meeting, hours after the debate Monday night in New York between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Netanyahu had met separately on Sunday with both candidates.
“It doesn’t matter which of them is elected – American support for Israel will remain strong. This alliance will stay strong and will even strengthen in the coming years,” he said.
Trump cited his meeting with Netanyahu during the debate when criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, which exchanged sanctions relief for limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities. Netanyahu was vehemently opposed to the deal, saying it harms Israel’s security.
“I met with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, believe me, he is not a happy camper,” Trump said.
The debate was aired live in Israel on one of the country’s major television channels with simultaneous Hebrew translation.
Clinton’s meeting with Netanyahu was brief. The two met for less than an hour in Manhattan, according to Clinton campaign officials.
Clintons’ campaign said in a statement that the two had an “in-depth conversation.”
She stressed that “a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States” and “reaffirmed unwavering commitment” to the relationship.
According to her campaign, Clinton stressed her support for the 10-year, $38 billion military aid package signed between the two countries earlier the month and opposition to efforts to boycott Israel.
They also discussed Iran, the conflict in Syria and other regional challenges, including her support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict negotiated by the two parties .
Trump and Netanyahu are long-time acquaintances. But in December 2015, Trump postponed a trip to Israel to meet with Netanyahu after the prime minister’s office criticized his proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants .
The Trump campaign said Sunday that the nominee and the prime minister “have known each other for many years and had the opportunity to discuss many topics important to both countries,” citing Daesh, the Iran deal and Trump suggesting, if elected, continuing US military aid to Israel.

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