(photo credit: REUTERS)
Recordings of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacking the European Union, bashing former US President Barack Obama and admitting to previous Israeli strikes against Iranian-backed groups in the region were leaked Wednesday to the shock of the public and to the dismay of the premier.
Netanyahu made all the comments as part of a closed-door meeting with leaders of the Visegard Group (including the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), while the microphone he was wearing remained activated and his words could be heard by journalists awaiting comments outside.
The prime minister began by slamming the European Union, accusing it of working to undermine Israel. ''The European Union is the only organization that stipulates its relations with Israel, which provides technology,on political conditions.''
''No one does that. It's insane. It's against Europe's interests,'' Netanyahu was heard stating. ''I suggest that first and foremost you help us and Europe speed up [the formation of] agreements with Israel, and that you pass a message to your colleagues in Europe on how to help Europe. Everything [Israel can offer] is at your disposal, in any field,'' he told the European leaders.
And he didn't pause there. ''Stop attacking Israel. Support it. Europe is disengaging itself from the world's biggest innovation hub. There's no sense [to that]. Europe is undermining its own security by undermining Israel,'' he stressed.
The connection to the journalists was immediately cut when it was discovered that the earpiece-clad reporters could hear everything the prime minister was saying.
But before that happened, several other controversial statements from the usually elaborately diplomatic prime minister could be heard.
Speaking about the change in US administration, Netanyahu attacked former President Barack Obama. ''We had a big problem with the United States. It's different now. There's a renewed American presence in the region [Syria and the Middle East at large] and more bombings. That's positive,'' he said, implying that he approved of the new tone set at the White House by US President Donald Trump.
Another bomb that was dropped by the premier during the discussion that was held in Budapest was concerning the threat posed by Iran. Israel has raised multiple times in the past the concern that Iran was entrenching its stronghold in the region by providing its proxies military help that can be used against the Jewish state.
In particular, Israel is wary of Tehran's collaboration with Lebanon-based, Shi'ite terror organization Hezbollah. ''I told Putin-- if we see Iran by our border passing weapon to Hezbollah, we'll take military action,'' Netanyahu said.
''We've done this [in the past] a dozen times,'' Netanyahu said, referencing Israeli air strikes on Hezbollah military targets in retaliation for the terror organization's attempt to arm up, which constitutes a grave security risk to Israel.
The Prime Minister's Office has yet to comment on these statements that were erroneously leaked to the media, but they are sure to be followed up by backlash.The Jerusalem Post
cannot independently verify the recordings at this time.