JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone about “critical bilateral and regional issues,” the White House announced.
The conversation took place on Wednesday, a day after Iran targeted U.S. bases in Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force, which operates a number of regional militias and is allied with terrorist groups targeting Israel, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
The White House did not offer any other details about the conversation in its brief statement.
Iranian statements after the missile attack on U.S. bases said an escalation would lead Iran to attack U.S. allies in the region, including Israel.
Hours before the conversation on Wednesday, Netanyahu, in a speech in Jerusalem to the Kohelet Policy Forum’s Conference on the Pompeo Doctrine regarding the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, praised the killing.
“Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the death of countless innocent people. He destabilized many countries. For decades, he sowed fear and misery and anguish and he was planning much worse,” Netanyahu said. “President Trump should be congratulated for acting swiftly, boldly and resolutely against this terrorist-in-chief who was the architect and driver of Iran’s campaign of carnage and terror throughout the Middle East and throughout the world.”
Netanyahu added that Israel will “stand steadfast against those who seek our lives. We stand determined and strong. Whoever tries to attack us will receive a crushing blow in return.”
He also said that: “I once again want to say what I have said many times, and I repeat it today, and it is especially important today, America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America.”