Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370.
(photo credit: Pool/Eli Selman)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on the international community Sunday to set down a clear "red line" for the Iranians so Tehran feels the world's determination to stop its nuclear march.
Netanyahu, speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, articulated publicly what he has been saying for weeks behind closed doors: that it is not enough for there to be open-ended diplomacy, but clear red lines need to set so the Iranians see that there will be direct consequences for their actions.
Referring to last week's Non-Aligned Movement conference
in Tehran, Netanyahu said that the representatives of 120 countries listened to the anti-Semitic rants of the Iranian leadership and "no one stood up, no one left the hall."
This lack of protest was even worse in light of the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report
that "confirms what I have been saying for a long time – the international sanctions are making things difficult for the Iranian economy, but are not delaying at all the Iranian nuclear program."
"I think that the truth must be told," Netanyahu continued. "The international community is not putting down a clear red line to Iran, and Iran is not seeing international determination to stop its nuclear program."
Until the Iranians see a clear red line and this determination, he said, they will not stop moving their nuclear program forward. "Iran cannot get a nuclear weapon," he declared.
Turning to the economy and the steep rise in prices
, Netanyahu pointed out the world was still in the midst of the worst economic crisis it has faced in the last 80 years.
"These difficulties are making things difficult for the citizens of all countries, especially developed countries, and also for Israelis," he said. "We need to tighten our belt in order to preserve Israel's economy, and that is not easy, and it presents difficulties for the citizens, and I know that"
Netanyahu said that alongside the difficulties, the government is taking action to ease the situation. He ticked off a number of steps, including free education for children from age three and free dental care until age 12.
"The most important thing," he said, "is that we are protecting the places of employment for Israeli citizens." To prove this point he referred to statistics released last week by the Central Bureau of Statistics placing the country's unemployment rate at 6.5%, lower than the unemployment level in the US, Europe and most developed nations in the world.