JERUSALEM – He never said so publicly, but the widely held assumption was that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported Mitt Romney on his quest for the presidency.
They are both from conservative parties, they were friends from their days at Boston Consulting Group in the late ’70s and they both shared the support of U.S. multibillionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. On top of that, Netanyahu and President Obama have had a particularly chilly relationship because the prime minister has repeatedly raised the specter of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
The criticism of Netanyahu’s perceived support for Romney started shortly after Obama’s victory Tuesday night (about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning here), and has only snowballed since. Politicians and commentators pounded Bibi, as he’s known here, for wading into U.S. politics and damaging the strong relationship between the two countries by backing the wrong horse.
“So Sorry, President Obama, Please Forgive Netanyahu,” read the headline of a Haaretz column today by Yossi Sarid, a former longtime Knesset member and leader of the liberal Meretz Party.
“Bibi Gambled, We’ll Pay,” was another in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the highest-circulated in Israel.