Bibi: 'No one helps US more than Israel'

Opposition leader thanks Pelosi from "the bottom of every Israeli heart;" Olmert: Bush visit shows "real America."

netanyahu 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
netanyahu 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
No country in the world helps the United States more than Israel does, asserted Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu in the Knesset Monday afternoon. The address came as part of a special welcome session for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is currently heading a delegation of US congressmen. Whilst already strong, the connection between Israel and the US "needs to be stronger," he continued, though he said he trusts that the bond will be strong enough to face "future challenges" together. Concluding his short address he switched to English, and thanked Pelosi "from the bottom of every Israeli heart." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also praised the visiting delegation, saying that the solidarity it exhibits is one which spans across political parties, and is "not something which should be cheapened." Speaking at a meeting of Knesset faction members on Monday, Olmert reserved praise for US President George W. Bush and warned of possible action to end ongoing Kassam rocket fire against communities in the South. "As you know, we've had an extraordinary past two weeks [full of events], some of which were connected to the celebrations for Israel's 60th anniversary," Olmert said at the start of the meeting. "There is no doubt that each one of us should be deeply impressed" by the depth of solidarity which Bush showed Israel during his speech to the Knesset. "I think that it was an expression of everything which is good between Israel and the United States," Olmert continued, saying that such an attitude was "the real America." However, Olmert said that the government would not let Independence Day celebrations and elaborate State visits detract attention from the situation in the South of the country. He reminded Kadima MKs about his comments from Sunday, in which he warned of possible action to stop the unrelenting Kassam rocket fire. "I said the decision is getting closer and closer," Olmert said. He added that the "perpetual threat has reached a climax," and vowed not to let the current reality for residents of the South continue for much longer. "The decision hour is near," he assured. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also met with Pelosi on Monday. The two leaders talked about various regional topics, according to a press release from the Foreign Minister's Bureau. Regarding Lebanon, Livni commented, "Just as Hizbullah acts as an emissary of Iran that challenges Lebanese stability and pushes its own extremist agenda rather than Lebanese interests - so Hamas pushes its agenda of hatred and terror rather than the Palestinian interest. Lebanon today offers the world concrete proof of our contention that the Iranian threat impacts on the entire region."