(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Leaders across the political spectrum on Friday reacted to the dramatic turning-point in Turkey-Israel relations after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized for the killing of nine Turkish citizens in a 2010 naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Avigdor Liberman, called Israel's apology to Turkey a "serious mistake."
Liberman added that an apology of this sort diminishes the motivation of IDF soldiers and encourages extremist acts in the region, and that the current Turkish leadership is solely responsible for the diminished relations between the two countries.
In a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart earlier on Friday, Netanyahu apologized for the killings and said Israel would pay compensation to the families of victims aboard the flotilla.
Other Israeli politicians reacted positively to the news, with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni welcoming the reconciliation between Israel and Turkey.
"This is a very important step, and the right one, as I told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu," Livni wrote on her Facebook.
"In these times, especially looking at what is happening in Syria, there are mutual security interests between Israel, Turkey and the United States," Livni stated, adding that it was an excellent final note on which to end Obama's visit.
Similarly, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich praised Netanyahu's apology, saying it is "best to swallow one's pride and do what is beneficial for the state."
"Hopefully reconciliation with the Turks after three years is the first step towards a new policy of strengthening Israel's diplomatic and strategic standing," Yacimovich said in a statement.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon joined the chorus of praise of Netanyahu's apology, calling the prime minister's decision "responsible," and assuring that it does not compromise the stance Israel maintained on the topic in the past three years.
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