(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must resign from his post if the world’s six leading countries reach a bad agreement with Iran in Vienna because it would be a personal failure for him, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told his faction in the Knesset Monday.
Lapid’s was the harshest criticism of Netanyahu on Iran delivered by any MK to date. In the past, Israeli leaders have refrained from criticizing Netanyahu on Iran because polls have indicated he has the support of a consensus of Israelis on the subject.
Lapid said he told American and European leaders in recent weeks that on Iran there is no opposition and coalition in Israel. But he said Netanyahu campaigned for three election cycles on the promise that he, and only he, can stop the deal with Iran.
As such, Lapid believes that if the prime minister fails to prevent the deal he cannot escape responsibility.
“If this bad deal is signed, it is a failure that has Netanyahu’s name all over it,” Lapid said. “His approach led us to a situation in which the American administration isn’t willing to listen to our positions. His approach led not only the United States, but also the other five powers involved in the negotiations – China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany – not to take into account Israel’s concerns over the deal, concerns that are right and justified.”
Coalition Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said Lapid’s comments were angering and displayed chutzpah. He said accusing Netanyahu of failure for not preventing the Iran deal was the same as accusing former British prime minister Winston Churchill of failure for not preventing the Munich Agreement that led to World War II.
Lapid tweeted in response that Churchill became prime minister of Britain only after the Munich Agreement but Netanyahu has been prime minister for six years. Hanegbi responded that Churchill opposed the Iran deal before he became prime minister.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Lapid’s job as an opposition MK was to call for the prime minister to quit, but that she hoped he remained in that job for a long time.
“All accomplishments and sanctions on Iran over the last several years are Netanyahu’s,” she said.Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.