Speaking from Israel after completing a five-year stint as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in July, Danon told Fox News on Monday that “we respect the democracy in the United States” and “appreciate the process,” citing the fact that there is also a democratic system in Israel.
“We know it is sometimes messy and choppy, but it is the best system we have,” said Danon, who is now the chairman of World Likud, a political party in Israel.
He stressed that Israel has to be “grateful to President Trump for what he did for Israel in the last four years,” noting that the Trump administration promoted peace treaties in the region, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.
On Sunday morning, hours after President-elect Joe Biden claimed victory, Danon tweeted a message of gratitude to President Trump.
“Thanks for supporting #Israel at the #UN. Thanks for exiting the #Iran nuclear deal. Thanks for recognizing the Golan Heights. Thanks for moving the #US embassy to #Jerusalem,” Danon wrote. “Israel thanks @POTUS for 4 wonderful years and prepares for continued cooperation with the President-elect.”
Early Sunday morning, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also thanked Trump for “the friendship” he has shown to Israel and “for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights.”
In a separate tweet, Netanyahu also congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted. “I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the U.S. and Israel.”
On Saturday night, Biden claimed “a clear victory” and preached unity in Wilmington, Del., after earlier in the day taking a projected victory in a contentious presidential election.
The remarks by Biden came hours after the Fox News Decision Desk projected that he and Harris would defeat Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, denying them a second term.
Trump has insisted on Twitter that ballots have been improperly counted and argued that Biden’s victory is premature. Trump vowed that his campaign would continue to file legal challenges in states where Biden was declared a narrow winner.
When asked what the overall sentiment was in Israel regarding a Biden presidency, Danon noted that “the polls show President Trump has the support of most Israelis.”
He stressed that “we respect the process and the democracy and I am sure the Israelis and the government of Israel will cooperate and work very closely with President Biden also.”
A majority of Israelis would have preferred that President Trump would have won reelection over his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, The Times of Israel reported a few days before the U.S. election, citing a Channel 12 poll.
The poll reportedly showed that 54% of Israelis support Trump, compared to 21% who favor Biden, with the other 25% saying they were not sure where they stand.
Three Middle East peace deals have been brokered during the Trump administration. Late last month, Trump announced a peace deal that would normalize ties between Israel and Sudan and claimed that there “would be many more peace deals to come in the Middle East.”
“I think they are really important agreements,” Danon told Fox News on Monday, saying that the peace agreements were not only important for Israel and the Arab countries involved, but for the United States as well.
He went on to say that he anticipates that Israel “will continue to see cooperation in the region” and continued peace agreements.
Danon said he wants to see more countries joining the “peace club in the region” and added that he hopes Biden “will continue with the initiative of President Trump for bringing normalization between Israel and Arab countries within the region.”
“It will be beneficial to all sides,” he stressed.
He also said Israel hopes that the new administration will continue with the past administration’s approach to the Iran nuclear deal and will not re-enter into the agreement.
In 2018, President Trump announced that he would be pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), calling the agreement “defective at its core.”
“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction, that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful, nuclear energy program,” Trump said at the time. “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie.”
Danon told Fox News on Monday that Trump took the “right approach” by making the “bold move” to exit the deal, calling it a “bad agreement” for Israel, moderate Arab countries in the region and the United States.
“We knew from the beginning that Iranians had no intentions to comply with the agreement and today it is public knowledge that they had breached the agreement many times,” he added.
Under the 2015 nuclear deal struck by the United States under the Obama administration, world powers, and Iran, sanctions against Tehran were lifted in exchange for Iran’s cooperation in restricting its nuclear program.
In 2018, Biden shared a similar sentiment to former President Barack Obama, calling the Trump administration’s move to withdraw from the agreement “a profound mistake.“
“It will isolate the United States from nearly every major world power,” Biden said in a statement, adding that any talk about a “‘better deal’ is an illusion.”
The former vice president added that “All it will likely accomplish is to put Iran back on the path to a nuclear weapon with no clear diplomatic way out.”
Last week, Danon reportedly told Israeli Army Radio that during a Biden presidency “things will get harder for us on several significant issues.”
“Biden wants to renew the Iranian nuclear agreement, for instance,” Danon reportedly continued. “And in the international arena, we’re going to have to explain ourselves in a lot of areas, whereas before, our stance was simply accepted.”
A former senior aide to Biden, Amos Hochstein, said rejoining the Iran nuclear deal was “high” on the president-elect’s agenda and that he would move to do so in “the first months” after taking office, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday, citing an interview with Channel 12 News in Israel.
“We’ll either see him rejoin the deal fully, or what I would call ‘JCPOA-minus,’ meaning lifting sanctions in exchange for suspending some of the Iranian nuclear programs [developed] in the past three years,” Hochstein reportedly also said on Sunday.
Danon, however, said it was important for the U.S. to continue to apply pressure to the Iranian regime.
“I think we will have to wait and see the policy of the new administration, but we definitely supported the approach of President Trump and we believe the only way to change the direction of the Iranian regime is through sanctions,” Danon told Fox News on Monday.
When asked what will happen if Biden and Democrats want to re-enter into the agreement, Danon said: “We will have to recalculate our approach toward the Iranian nuclear race.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.