Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog at Jerusalem Post office in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
I will not release prisoners with blood on their hands, the Zionist Union prime ministerial candidate Isaac Herzog promised in a speech to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Thursday at Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel.
Herzog criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for repeatedly releasing murderers in prisoner exchanges.
“The prime minister wrote books against releasing terrorists with blood on their hands but didn’t read them,” Herzog said.
In further attacks on Netanyahu, Herzog said “the role of a leader is not to threaten his people day in and day out” and that “as his poll numbers go down, his lies increase.”
Herzog sharply criticized Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, calling it “trespassing,” “harassment” and “undermining” US President Barack Obama, “poking the eye” of the president, and “preaching to the converted.”
“To achieve a good deal on Iran’s nuclear program, there must be no daylight between Israel and the United States,” he said.
“Bibi has been screaming and yelling on Iran for years but failed to stop it from becoming a nuclear threshold state. When our enemies see a rift between Jerusalem and Washington, it doesn’t help our deterrence and it doesn’t help our security.”
Herzog’s number two Tzipi Livni also attacked Netanyahu’s controversial Congress speech.
“Do you really think anyone in Congress still doesn’t know Netanyahu’s view on Iran and can be convinced?” Livni asked.
“Do you think if Obama came to the Knesset and gave a great speech about the peace process that Naftali Bennett would change his mind?” Livni revealed that when she was foreign minister, there were times she yelled at US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice but she kept their disagreements private.
The Zionist Union candidates Merav Michaeli, Ayelet Nahmias- Verbin, and Robert Tibaev, campaigned Thursday at the Petah Tikva mall along with Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, whom Herzog has said he would appoint defense minister if he formed a government and kept the portfolio. The group was well-received, but a group of elderly Sephardi women called them “delusional.”
Netanyahu responded by attacking both Herzog and Livni for supporting the Gaza Strip withdrawal and Livni for negotiating with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas behind his back after the cabinet decided to halt talks.
“Tzipi Livni conducted defeatist negotiations and surrendered to terrorist organizations and their representatives over and over again,” Netanyahu said. “She and Buji say in advance that they will surrender to international pressure.
A government under Tzipi and Buji would harm Israel’s security.
But a government led by me would continue to stand up with determination for Israel’s security interests.”