As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approaches what may be the end of his leadership, U.S. lawmakers and interest groups alike are trying to figure out what this change could signal for the United States, the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: The U.S.-Israel relationship has become more divisive with recent events in Gaza as well as ongoing criticism from some Democrats over Netanyahu’s hard-right policies.
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Netanyahu is expected to be replaced by Naftali Bennett, another hard-right figure, who has signaled that he would take a unifying approach, per the Post.
What they’re saying:
“The United States and Israel have a strong relationship, but it’s run into previously unheard-of problems in the last five years,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said in a statement to the Post.
“From our perspective, it’s not about an individual, it’s about the relationship,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters.
“Bibi Netanyahu made a decision to try to create and exploit partisan division about Israel in the United States,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) told the paper. “That was a horrible mistake, because support for Israel needs to be bipartisan.”
“He’s been in power, he’s clung to power, he’s machinated to stay in power for all these years, and he’s an ethno-nationalist,” Levin added.
“Netanyahu worked magic in Washington, but there is no question that he identified himself so much with the Republican Party that he has a big hand in turning many Democrats to what some people might call less pro-Israel,” said Shira Efron, an Israeli scholar at Rand Corp. and the Israel Policy Forum.
Go deeper: Israeli “change coalition” announces new government to oust Netanyahu.
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