Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Yarden Vatikai called ministers
over the weekend urging them not to give interviews on Iran after Economy and
Trade Minister Naftali Bennett told the BBC that the West needed to paralyze the
Islamic Republic with sanctions.
Bennett said Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani was smartly using warm and fuzzy rhetoric to cover violent
“Soft words in New York don’t stop centrifuges in Natanz,”
Bennett said. “We need to focus on what he does, not what he says.”
asked what Israel would like to see happen with Iran, Bennett said: “We’d love a
diplomatic resolution to this problem. The West needs to be tightening
sanctions. Otherwise Iran won’t do a thing.”
Knesset Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), who is close to Netanyahu,
warned of Israeli action if a diplomatic solution is not reached with Iran.
Hanegbi told Israel Radio that if no agreement was reached, Israel should take
self-protective action to remove the Iranian nuclear threat. He added that
Israel has made it clear that it reserves the right to protect its security and
US President Barack Obama recognizes this right.
Two Likud ministers
canceled interviews on Iran with Channel 2’s show Meet the Press after receiving
requests from the Prime Minister’s Office. But deputy defense minister Danny
Danon went on the show and said he trusted Netanyahu to handle the issue
Danon criticized Obama on the show for tying together the Iranian
and Palestinian issues. The deputy defense minister will convene Likud activists
Sunday to plan strategy to balance pressure on Netanyahu from the
Labor leadership candidate Isaac Herzog called upon Netanyahu to fire
Danon and advance the peace process.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said the
prime minister’s trip to New York was an important opportunity to commit to a
permanent solution with the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders.
Iran, Gal-On said she understood Netanyahu’s skepticism of Rouhani but urged
giving a chance to the diplomatic approach with Iran.
“If there is a way
to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon without another war, then we have a
moral obligation to exhaust this path,” Gal-On wrote on her Facebook
She pleaded with Netanyahu not to scold world leaders in his speech
at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Instead of preaching and a
condescending speech at the UN and telling Obama and world leaders how to do
their jobs, the time has come for our prime minister to look at himself in the
mirror and maybe, just maybe start fixing damage he has caused.”