PM Netanyahu receives backing from rivals on Putin

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay wished Netanyahu well, even though he said he was not particularly optimistic.

August 23, 2017 19:22
1 minute read.
PM Netanyahu receives backing from rivals on Putin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Politicians from across the political spectrum who normally criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave him full support on Wednesday in his quest to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to prevent the spread of Iranian power in Syria.

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay wished Netanyahu well, even though he said he was not particularly optimistic.

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“The Iranians and their Shi’ite militias they brought to Syria hold the real power over the groups there, and not the Russian Air Force,” Gabbay said in a statement to the press. “Our power comes from our deterrence. As in any security challenge in the past, we can only rely on ourselves and not on others.”

Gabbay’s Zionist Union rival, former defense minister MK Amir Peretz, said preventing the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria is a key strategic interest for Israel. He said he hoped Netanyahu returned from his meeting with Putin with significant achievements.

“The Iranian effort to achieve an arc of territorial contiguity from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea is a danger to our security,” former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on Twitter. “It is good that Netanyahu is trying to put the brakes on the intolerable axis of threats to Israel.”

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said Israel has the right to prevent the strengthening of its enemies and would embark on diplomatic and intelligence efforts for that purpose.

“Our interests are not identical, but Israel, the US and Russia are all interested in preventing the creation of a Persian Empire from Tehran to the [Mediterranean] Sea,” Bennett told Army Radio.

“The goal of the Iranians is to build a highway from Iran, through Iraq, Syria to the Mediterranean and beyond and turn the Golan into a new front [against Israel]. This is the time to prevent Shi’ite Iranian bases [from being] on our border.”

Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu) toured the Golan Heights and wrote on Facebook: “We are at a critical time when we must bring the US and Russian on board and prepare the IDF for the threat operationally and organizationally.”

Likud MK Yoav Kisch, who is a Netanyahu ally and an Israel Air Force pilot, released a statement that was surprisingly critical of US President Donald Trump. He said Israel should reconsider its alliances due to new regional realities.

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