Yaakov Peri 370.
(photo credit: Knesset)
President Shimon Peres urged Israelis on Friday to show respect for the US,
seeking to soothe relations with the country’s most powerful ally that have been
strained over Iran.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has condemned a
proposal, endorsed by Washington, to reduce sanctions if Iran suspends parts of
its nuclear program.
Several ministers have also criticized Washington,
prompting Peres to speak out.
“We must not underestimate the importance
of this friendship. There can be disagreements, but they must be conducted with
a view to the true depth of the situation,” Peres said in comments released by
“If we have disagreements we should voice them, but we should
remember that the Americans also know a thing or two. We are not the only ones,”
Trade and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the
security cabinet, flew to Washington last week
to urge members of Congress to
reject the proposed Iran deal.
“I think more and more members of the
House and Senate understand now...
that the deal being formed is a deal
that removes the sanctions without dismantling the Iranian nuclear machine,”
Bennett told Israel Radio on Friday.
Analysts have warned Netanyahu not
to pit the Congress against the US president, and Peres made a point of praising
Obama’s efforts on behalf of Israel.
“There has not been an Israeli
request that the Obama administration has not responded to,” he said.
government was in favor of a diplomatic solution to end the dispute with Iran,
Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri insisted, though he warned of
the consequences of allowing the row with Washington to deteriorate
“We have differences [with the US], but it’s not a serious
crisis,” Peri said in a town hall meeting in Tel Aviv.
cannot discount the possibility that we’ll reach that point.
sanctions imposed on Iran were what pressured its leadership to come to the
negotiating table with the West,” Peri, a former head of the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Service), said.
“The prime minister says – I don’t support him
on this count – that we need to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and
that sanctions should be kept in place until that goal is
“Still, we have no bigger friend than the US, and we must be
careful not to exacerbate the crisis because it will have consequences on other
issues that are fateful to the country’s future.”
Peri said that he would
“probably vote in favor” of a military strike against Iran if it came before the
cabinet and it became apparent that all other possibilities had been
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On on Saturday accused Netanyahu
of trying to sabotage American diplomatic efforts to roll back the Iranian
“The prime minister isn’t opposed, as he wrote on his
Facebook page, to ‘a bad agreement with Iran,’” Gal- On said. “He’s against any
agreement that will be reached with Iran in the direct negotiations between Iran
and the US.
“It is in Israel’s interest to support the American goal of
preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons through diplomatic means that
will include supervision and strict enforcement [of measures] that will prevent
it from attaining nuclear weapons,” she said.
“It cannot be done by means