President Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has missed several chances to repair ties with Washington, which have been frayed by the Iran nuclear accord.
In an interview with army radio, Rivlin also acknowledged his own differences with the premier, especially over ties with the United States, Israel’s number one ally.
Rivlin said he and the premier “exhausted the subject of differences of opinion” on relations with the outside world and were now meeting less frequently.
Netanyahu has caused ripples with his outspoken attacks on the July 14 accord on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme between Israel’s archfoe Tehran and world powers led by the United States.
“It seems to me that there have been three periods during which we could have envisaged a renewed dialogue with the United States despite our differences of opinion,” said the president, whose role is purely ceremonial.
He pointed to the period of negotiations leading up to the Iran deal, after the signing of the accord, before the US Congress started to debate the agreement, and ahead of a possible Senate vote to disapprove the accord.
“It is up to the prime minister to decide on this subject, but his opinions are different from mine,” said Rivlin, who has been openly critical of the damage to ties with US President Barack Obama’s administration caused by Netanyahu’s hostility to the Iran accord.
“I see the prime minister regularly once a month but we haven’t had the opportunity to see each other these past two months because we haven’t organised a meeting,” he said.
“I think we’ve exhausted the subject of our differences of opinion, not on the question of the accord with Iran but on our relations with the international community.”