White House Press Secy Psaki dodges questions on U.S. relations with Israel

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House February 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki held a news briefing to answers questions from the members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 10:25 AM PT – Saturday, February 13, 2021

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied criticism that claimed the Biden administration intentionally neglected Israel. In a press briefing Friday, Psaki blamed the administration’s brief time in office for the lack of communication between Joe Biden and his Israeli counterpart.

She also would not confirm if Biden plans to reach out to Israel in the near future. Psaki then attempted to assure reporters the lack of communication with Israel’s prime minister was not intentional.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 21: (ISRAEL OUT) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Defence Minister Ehud Barak (not pictured), on November 21, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. An official ceasfire started at 9pm local time between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement after eight days of conflict resulting in the deaths of over 140 Palestinians, five Israelis and many hundreds injured. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a joint press conference. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

“It is not an intentional diss,” Psaki claimed. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is someone the president has known for some time. Obviously, we have a long and important relationship with Israel. And the president has known him and has been working on a range of issues that there’s mutual commitment to for some time.”

Meanwhile, an Israeli official took to Twitter earlier this week to urge Biden to contact the “closest ally of the U.S.” He noted Biden called several other ally nations since his time in office, adding now might be the time to communicate with Israel’s prime minister.

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