US President Barack Obama (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit on Saturday harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defense Ministry for their response to the United States after it claimed that Israel acknowledges that the Iranian nuclear deal is working.
In a statement released by Margalit's office to the press, the MK said: "As Israel approaches closing a crucial aid agreement with the United States, an agreement vital to Israel's security, Netanyahu is using the Defense Ministry like a tool of the Likud Party."
"Netanyahu's cynical use of the security establishment," Margalit continued, "against the US, violates the State of Israel's interests."
"Comparing the situation to the Holocaust, as well as comparing [US President Barack] Obama with [former prime minister of England Neville] Chamberlain and the Munich agreement, causes serious damage to relations with the United States and conveys hysteria and loss of control," he added.
The fiery comments by the Zionist Union MK came one day after the Defense Ministry issued a highly unusual and strongly-worded statement in response to comments made by the Obama administration, with the Ministry comparing the Iran nuclear deal to the failed 1938 Munich pact with the Nazis.
"The Munich agreement did not prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust, precisely because their basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong, and because the leaders of the world at that time ignored the explicit statements by Hitler and the rest of the leaders of Nazi Germany," the Ministry said.
The Ministry added that these lessons from the 1930s also hold true for Iran today, which openly announces its aim to destroy the State of Israel. It cited a US State Department report published this year that listed Iran as the world's top sponsor of terrorism.
"Hence, the defense establishment, like the rest of the Israeli people and many in the world, understands that agreements of this kind signed between the world powers and Iran are not helpful, but only harm the uncompromising struggle that must be undertaken against a terrorist state like Iran," it concluded.
Netanyahu's office also said in a statement released shortly following the Defense Ministry's comments that the Israeli government's position on the Iran deal remains intact
, but noted that there was no more important ally in the world than the United States.
As [Netanyahu] outlined in his speech to the UN last year
, now it is important that those who agree and for those who object to cooperate in order to achieve three objectives," the PMO statement said.
"Make sure that Iran does not violate the terms of the agreement," it continued, adding "deal with regional aggression from Iran and dismantle the global terrorist network of the Islamic Republic."
The statement from Netanyahu's office concluded by stating: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects that these objectives will become common policy and expects the alliance between Israel and the United States to strengthen with US President Barack Obama and with the next US administration."On Thursday,
Obama said that the military and intelligence communities in Israel, "the country that was most opposed to the deal," had come to the conclusion that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a "game-changer" that had successfully put a lid on Iran's nuclear program and expanded the time it would require for Tehran to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
The JCPOA put temporary caps on Iran's nuclear infrastructure in exchange for international sanctions relief. Those caps last between ten and fifteen years, depending on the provision, at which point Iran will lawfully be allowed to grow its civilian nuclear infrastructure.Yaakov Lappin and Michael Wilner contributed to this article.