The election of relatively moderate Hassan Rohani as Iran’s president is as much
a blow to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as it is to the extremists in Iran,
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said Sunday.
Gal-On and other leaders on the
Left condemned Netanyahu for his assessment that nothing had changed following
Friday’s Iranian election. They accused the prime minister of fear-mongering for
his own political purposes.
“Netanyahu will not let reality get in the
way of his plans to attack Iran,” Gal-On said. “It seems that while the Iranian
people and the West are welcoming the moderate new president, Israel’s leaders
are still mourning despot [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's
departure. Netanyahu uses the Iranian threat whenever he wants to
distract the public from the country’s real problems. Rohani’s election
forces the prime minister to find new political spin.”
Shaul Mofaz, who was born in Iran, said Netanyahu was too quick to judge Rohani.
He said the PM’s statements Sunday joined a long line of mistakes the PM had
made in his handling of Iran.
“It will take months to judge where Rohani
is going,” Mofaz said. “All of Netanyahu’s statements about deadlines and red
lines have not passed the test of time. He needs to act responsibly with proper
judgment and not come out with statements so fast.”
Shelly Yacimovich said the election proved that the people there wanted change.
Referring to Netanyahu, she said the fact that the so-called experts on Iran
among Israeli politicians failed to predict the outcome makes them unfit to
assess what will happen in the future.
“It is wrong to analyze tomorrow
on the basis of yesterday’s inaccurate assessments,” Yacimovich
“The new Iranian president can certainly not be suspected of being
a Zionist and he is subordinate to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, but he is
better than the alternatives in Iran.”
Yacimovich’s leadership rival in
Labor, MK Eitan Cabel, said no matter whether or not Netanyahu's warnings about
Rohani are correct, it cannot be denied that the new situation is better for
Israel than the previous one.
“It is wrong to live in a world of fear,”
“The prime minister needs to stop scaring us. It could be
that he is right, but it also could be time for new hope because the Iranians
picked someone normal. I hope a new era is beginning.”