JERUSALEM – President-elect Donald Trump will be a good friend to Israel and hopefully the two countries can work together to dismantle the international nuclear agreement with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview Sunday.
While the two countries are close allies, relations were sometimes tense between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama because of their vastly different world views on the Iran deal and other issues.
There is sentiment in the nationalist Israeli right wing that Trump’s election could usher in a new era of relations with the United States.
“I know Donald Trump,” Netanyahu told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview that will air later Sunday night. “And I think his attitude, his support for Israel is clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish state, about the Jewish people. There’s no question about that,” Netanyahu said.
His remarks were significant because critics have accused Trump of tolerating anti-Semitism among some of his supporters.
Netanyahu said he “had differences of opinion” with President Obama the “most well-known, of course, is Iran.”
The Israeli prime minister has been one of the fiercest critics of the nuclear deal and butted heads with Obama over the issue.
Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. Israel fears that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to threaten its very existence.
Netanyahu said there are “various ways of undoing” the 2015 deal, in which Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on its oil industry and finances.
“I have about five things in my mind,” Netanyahu said, declining to go into further detail.
During his campaign, Trump was harshly critical of the nuclear deal.