Netanyahu Strikes Neutral Tone Ahead of Election Day

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday expressed hope that whoever is elected as president in Tuesday’s presidential election will maintain the U.S.-Israel relationship and oppose unilateral actions at the United Nations against Israel.

“Whoever is elected, the new president, I am convinced that US-Israel relations, which are solid and strong, will not only remain as such, but will further strengthen,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “We also expect that the U.S. will remain faithful to the principle that it has set over many years, that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute can be resolved only by direct negotiations without preconditions, and of course, not in decisions by the UN or other international institutions.”

Netanyahu also hinted that the relationship he’s developed with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not come at the expense of U.S. influence in the Middle East. “I would like to note that the alliance with the US is the first, most fundamental and most important of all of our relationships,” the prime minister noted. “Thus it has been and thus it will continue.”

Meanwhile, Channel 10 reported on Sunday that Netanyahu has instructed members of his cabinet not to make any public comments on the presidential race. In a written directive to his ministers, Netanyahu said that since it’s a “sensitive” issue, he will “set the tone.”

A poll published on Friday showed that Likud voters – by a 44-39 percentage point margin – prefer Donald Trump as president over Hillary Clinton. Another poll showed that 59 percent of Likud voters support Trump, while 24 percent prefer Clinton.

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