In Washington, Bennett ‘collapsed’ instead of defending Israel’s security, says opposition MK

“What needs to be done is precisely what did not occur during the meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett. Not only did it not happen, the opposite happened,” stated Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

Meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett promised that despite Israel’s opposition to a return to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, the Jewish State would avoid publicly lobbying the U.S. not to reenter the agreement.

This was apparently in sharp contrast to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who fought hard on the international stage against the nuclear deal. Addressing a weekly cabinet session in January 2015 several weeks ahead of his address to the U.S. Congress on the Iranian threat, despite angering the Obama administration, the former prime minister said:

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide, and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”

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On Tuesday, a Knesset Plenum discussed a motion on “The Government’s neglect of the severe developments pertaining to the Iranian issue,” which was submitted by Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi.

“The question today is simple,” Hanegbi said. “What should the State of Israel do to make certain that Iran does not successfully complete its nuclear program and does not pose an existential threat to the Jewish state as a fanatic, fundamentalist regime that possesses a weapon of mass destruction?

“What needs to be done is precisely what did not occur during the meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett. Not only did it not happen, the opposite happened,” he declared.

The meeting in Washington “reflected the severe predicament the State of Israel has been in since last June,” Hanegbi told the Plenum. “We have a government that lacks experience, lacks confidence, does not have a vision, lacks courage, is hesitant, and, to a large extent, is also paralyzed.

“The Bennett-Biden meeting essentially clarified to us that it is not just about lack of understanding or lack of experience, or about a prime minister who is just starting out. Rather, it is about a fundamentally wrong policy, the main element of which is irresponsibility, because it essentially brings to Israel’s doorstep a near and certain danger.”

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Not the time for ‘political bashing’

In defense of Bennett, Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina) said, “The new government, which has been serving for three months, inherited a situation in which ​the Iranian nuclear program is at its most advanced stage. The government, from its first day, addressed the matter with all the attention and resources.

“During his visit to the United States, the prime minister expressed his position that a return to the nuclear agreement would be a mistake and that Israel [does not support the agreement]. He explained to the Americans that, at this point in time, lifting the sanctions would greatly strengthen the Iranian regime, and that the value of restricting enrichment is very limited given the significant progress the Iranians have already made. At the same time, he made it clear that Israel reserves the right to decide for itself on the Iran issue.”

“On the Iranian issue, we expect support also from the opposition,” Kahana said. “Needless to say, this matter is at the core of the Stage of Israel’s national security, and it mustn’t be a tool for political bashing.”