“The question is, who will withstand the pressure, who will watch out for the interests of the State of Israel?” said Netanyahu.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that President Biden’s time in office will bring challenges to Israel which only he is qualified to take on, during an interview with Channel 20 on Wednesday.
Biden has not called Netanyahu for nearly one month since taking office, leaving political commentators wondering about the implications of the snub.
Netanyahu downplayed the lack of communication, but suggested that Biden’s presidency may pose a unique challenge for Israel.
“I have known Joe Biden for almost 40 years, and he’s my personal friend,” Netanyahu told Channel 20. “This doesn’t mean there haven’t been disagreements. There have been several. Maybe on the Iranian issue, maybe on the Palestinian issue…
“The question is, who will withstand the pressure, who will watch out for the interests of the State of Israel? I will ask differently – who has already faced these pressures? I think the answer is clear.”
While Netanyahu remained diplomatic and refrained from saying Biden is soft on Iran, he has implied in the past that Israel and its regional partners in the Gulf are concerned about Biden re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal.
In the interview, he also discussed the International Criminal Court’s recent declaration that the institution has jurisdiction to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian territories.
Calling the decision an “unprecedented scandal,” Netanyahu vowed to safeguard former Israeli soldiers, as ICC war crimes investigations could potentially result in arrest warrants for IDF veterans traveling in Europe.
“The court in the Hague is a biased and political court,” Netanyahu told Channel 20, adding that he was outraged that the ICC would consider prosecuting “our heroes [soldiers], who go out of their way to make efforts not to harm civilians.
“For dictatorships in Iran and Syria that commit war crimes every Monday and Wednesday, they do not investigate. It is absurd.”
On a positive note, Netanyahu added that he believes there is a seismic shift in how Israeli Arabs perceive themselves as citizens in the Jewish State. He suggested that they are now more willing than ever to integrate into wider society.
During a visit to the Arab city of Ar’ara in the north, throngs of young men and women lined the streets to greet him, Netanyahu said.
“I got out of the car, went over to them, and heard cries of joy, ‘Abu Yair, Abu Yair!’ [Arabic term of respect]. It was extremely exciting…I’m telling them ‘be a part of the government, be a part of the country.’ The response is amazing.”
Netanyahu credited the four recent peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel as one of the reasons for the Arab community’s increasingly positive attitude towards him and the Likud party.
The Israeli Arab Joint List party, which ostensibly represents the interests of Arab Israelis and has an anti-normalization, pro-Palestinian agenda, is actually out of touch with the community, Netanyahu said.
“The Joint List voted against peace agreements! They voted against four peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries. Arab society understands this.”
On the serious issue of violent crime in Arab Israeli communities, Netanyahu said, “We’ll take care of crime. And they understand that we are determined to do it.”