Sharansky: Netanyahu and Herzog should stand together against Iran

Jewish Agency chairman believes unified political leadership on Iran nuclear issue can make difference.

April 1, 2015 06:29
3 minute read.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky meets with editors and reporters at The Jerusalem Post on Tue

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky meets with editors and reporters at The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog should join ranks in presenting Israel’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear agreement being negotiated by the world powers,  Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

In a briefing to senior editors and reporters at the newspaper’s offices in Jerusalem, Sharansky said that the leadership of the country should unite to counter the existential threat posed by a nuclear Iran.

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“I think there are small disagreements, and probably there will be disagreements, but I would say that if Buji Herzog feels like Netanyahu, and thinks that the Iran agreement is a dangerous agreement, the best thing that can be done now is for Bibi and Buji together to face the world and explain how dangerous this is.”

Sharansky said the mission is bigger than the prime minister and his party.

“The challenge that the State of Israel now has is an obligation to explain to our best friends and all our friends in the world why the Iran agreement is bad for us,” Sharansky said. “The arguments in Bibi’s speech [to Congress] were good, but that’s an argument that has to be made by all our nation to all our friends. I don’t know what’s happening in the US administration, but if there is a common base for this position on the threat of Iran between Bibi and Buji, I would really like them to go together.”

Asked by diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon if he was calling for a unity government, Sharansky said: “If possible.”

Sharansky, a former Prisoner of Zion who once headed a political party called Yisrael B’aliya, said he doesn’t see why Netanyahu, Herzog and Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett couldn’t sit in the same government.

“Look, if suddenly we have the opportunity of a unique agreement with the Palestinians, then that will be difficult,” he said, adding that it is an unlikely scenario at this stage.

He said the top issues on Israel’s agenda are Iran’s nuclear program, rising anti-Semitism globally and socioeconomic issues within Israel, such as lowering housing prices.

“If they can build a mutual platform on these issues, I would say a unity government is the best answer to our external challenges,” Sharansky said.

“Whether it is possible, I have no idea.

I know no better than you, because I know what you are writing in the newspapers, but I don’t know what you are not writing,” he quipped.

Sharansky shrugged off the current tension in US-Israel relations over the emerging Iran deal.

“There is a no love story between Netanyahu and [US President Barack] Obama, [but] there is a love story between Israel and America,” he said. “A big, deep, passionate love story, because of shared national ideals and the way we look at human history and human rights. It’s a very, very deep love story.”

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last month, he said, made the Iranian issue “very simple and direct” to many of those in attendance.

“I know most of the senators and congressmen, and I think for the first time many of them understood how simple this issue is. I can tell you from my 40 years of experience that it is possible to explain this issue to the Americans, and it’s definitely a top issue. Whether it increases tension with the White House or not should not be an issue. We should do everything we can [to reduce such tension], but not at the expense of endangering our very existence.”

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