‘Don’t challenge America in public’ – former Defense Minister criticizes Bennett, Lapid

Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon calls on current prime minister to walk back remarks criticizing American policy around Iran nuclear talks.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid need to walk back their criticisms of the United States when it comes to the Iran nuclear talks, said former defense minister Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon during an interview last Friday on KAN News.

He appeared to be referencing Bennett’s remarks last Thursday, calling on the Biden administration to suspend nuclear talks and earlier statements about Israel reserving the right to take matters into its own hands to defend itself, no matter the outcome of the talks.

“I think we should not confront the Americans. There is room to say things, and we should say them behind closed doors,” Ya’alon said during a conversation with the host of political TV program This Week.

Ya’alon’s remarks mirrored previous statements by current Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said in June that “the Biden Administration is a true friend of Israel, and Israel doesn’t have nor will it ever have a greater partner than the United States.”

“Even if differences arise, they will be resolved through direct dialogue, behind closed doors, not through provocative statements that serve to harm Israeli security,” he added.

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Ya’alon said that Israel had not sufficiently considered the ramifications of Iran not being subject to the terms of the original nuclear agreement.

“The security-related decisions were correct, but preparations had to be made for the possibility that the Iranians would be unfazed and that military action would be needed,” he said.

He added that if Netanyahu is the one who pushed the U.S. to exit the 2015 agreement, “the responsibility for the mistake lays on his shoulders.”

Ya’alon expressed pessimism around the idea that there would be a new agreement. “A nuclear Iran is neither in the interest of the United States nor in the interest of Russia. This means that more countries in the Middle East will aspire to have nuclear weapons,” he said.

Israel should “coordinate a move with the United States” which would isolate Iran, impose sanctions, and “threaten it with a credible military option.”

He added that Israel must prepare for a worst case scenario in which it must act without American support, saying that “we must also prepare for the possibility of ‘if I am not for myself, who will be for me?'”