Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman issued praise for the policies of United
States President Barack Obama’s administration Tuesday at a pre-Rosh Hashana
toast for activists of his Yisrael Beytenu party at Jerusalem’s Shalom
Liberman’s comments come at a time when Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu has been issuing veiled public criticism of Obama’s Iran policies.
While the foreign minister did not mention the US president by name, his
comments could aid Democratic efforts to market Obama as pro-Israel.
the credit of the United States, it is the only country that stood by our side
in our struggles at the United Nations, the Security Council and UNESCO,”
“The US increased funding for Iron Dome. Even if we
disagree sometimes and even if there is commentary that suggests otherwise, we
must say we that have no better friend than the US.”
Liberman hinted at
support for a possible Israeli strike on Iran when he said that Yisrael
Beytenu’s presence in the coalition makes the government “more serious and
determined to defend the interests of Israel.”
He warned that if Iran
obtains nuclear weapons it would result in a nuclear arms race and the end of
international anti-nuclear proliferation agreements.
Turning to Egypt,
Liberman praised Cairo’s appointment of a new ambassador to Israel but said it
was not enough. He called upon President Mohamed Morsy to acknowledge the ties
that have continued between Israel and Egypt on diplomatic, economic and
Paraphrasing former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, Liberman
said “Israel cannot be the whore of the Middle East who everyone enjoys but with
whom no one admits their connections.”
Liberman mocked the Hebrew press,
saying that he reads “the nonsense that poses as commentary in Israeli
newspapers” when he wants a good laugh. Criticizing newspapers that say he
recently adopted the Palestinian issue to help his next campaign, he said there
were many good reasons to highlight Palestinian incitement against Israel and
its support for terror.
Liberman said Yisrael Beytenu was the most ready
party for elections, but that he preferred that the next election would be held
on time in October 2013, both as a matter of principle and because of the
changes taking place in the Middle East.
While stressing that Yisrael
Beytenu would continue to act as “a stabilizing factor in the government,” he
said the party would push three key issues: recognition of Ariel University
Center as a university, low income housing and equalizing the burden of national
Yisrael Beytenu will begin a new campaign Wednesday to put the
issue of haredi service back on the national agenda.
The campaign will
urge Israelis to note with pride where they served on Facebook and
The party will also bring its universal service bill to another
vote in the Knesset as soon as legally permitted.