A week after the Israeli general election and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still waiting for congratulatory calls from world leaders. Maariv newspaper claimed at the weekend that no leader of any country has called Netanyahu following the announcement of the election results last Tuesday. Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beitenu group won the most seats in the Knesset.
The newspaper added that the prevailing belief in Israel is that the international community is waiting for President Shimon Peres to ask Netanyahu to form the new government, which will be another coalition.
However, Maariv also pointed out that former US President George W. Bush has contacted ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to congratulate his party for winning 29 seats, compared with Likud-Yisrael Beitenu’s 31.
Israeli political sources say that Bush’s congratulations came because of his close relationship with Olmert, hinting at the crisis in relations between the current occupant of the White House and the Israeli premier. It has also been noted that relations between Netanyahu’s government and European countries are at a low thanks to the stalemate in the peace process and Israel’s settlement expansion programme.