PM Netanyahu at the President's Residence 370.
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asserted that the future of the Jewish people is "intimately bound" with the future of the State of Israel, speaking in an interview with CNN aired Tuesday.
"My job as the prime minister of Israel," he added, "is to ensure that future."
Addressing a question of the connection young American Jews have with the Jewish state, Netanyahu said he believes there is a stronger connection than meets the eye, and one that can be built up. "There is a very strong bond that we can encourage and develop," he continued, lauding programs like Birthright-Taglit, which bring young Diaspora Jewry to visit Israel, as ways to do so.
Responding to what the CNN interviewer described as changed world perceptions of Israel from an underdog to a dominant power, Netanyahu asserted, "We are not seeking to dominate anybody."
"We are seeking to live in peace with our neighbors," he said. "I hope they decide to do the same with us."
On Iran, the prime minister acknowledged
that sanctions are visibly impairing the Islamic Republic's economy but have not impacted its continuing nuclear activities.
"They're certainly taking a bite out of the Iranian economy, but so far they haven't rolled back the Iranian program or even stopped it by one iota," Netanyahu said. "I hope that changes, but so far, I can tell you the centrifuges are spinning."
"If the sanctions are going to work, they better work soon," he emphasized.
Asked how he knows about Iran's nuclear activities, the prime minister retorted, "Oh, we know."
"We know, and others know and we share what we know. This is not a case of the questions that people had about Saddam Hussein," he continued when pressed further, referring to the botched intelligence on Iraq's nuclear program ahead of the 2003 invasion.