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.”

Kadima leader 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.”

Opposition leader 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 said.

“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,” Cabel said.

“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.”

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger