Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Israel’s ties with the United States are strong enough to withstand any disagreements.
Speaking to the haredi radio station Kol Barama, Netanyahu said that his upcoming speech to Congress is important because it aims to stop an agreement that is “very dangerous” for Israel.
“We are on the eve of Purim, and we remember the attempts in Persia back then to destroy Israel and today, in the same Persia, there is a regime which wants the destruction of the Jewish state,” he said, adding, “The means they want to use to realize that goal is to produce many nuclear bombs, and this agreement gives them the ability to continue to generate a lot of nuclear bombs. And so it is my duty as the Prime Minister of Israel and as someone who is concerned for the future of the Jewish people, to do everything in my power to convince the only body that may prevent this agreement and that is the United States Congress. And that's what I’m doing.”
Netanyahu stressed that he “greatly respects” the strong ties between Israel and the U.S., but added that when there is “an issue that can jeopardize our very existence, it is my duty as Prime Minister of Israel to stand up even against the American position if necessary.”
“Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel in the face of strong opposition of the State Department at the time,” he continued. “Levi Eshkol went to the Six Day War despite the opposition of President Johnson. Menachem Begin destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor against the wishes of President Reagan. There were other examples.”
“When there is something that has to do with our very existence, what is expected from the Prime Minister? To bow his head and accept something that is dangerous for the sake of a relationship? I think that the relationship is strong enough to overcome differences but Israel cannot afford to have Iran produce atomic bombs, that is something that is much more dangerous to our existence than disputes that eventually will pass,” declared Netanyahu.
He noted that Democratic and Republican senators had invited him to a bipartisan lunch meeting after his speech, as was reported on Thursday.
“I gladly accepted [the invitation] and this is important,” said Netanyahu. “First and foremost, it shows that there is great interest across both parties, including in the speech and in the position that I will present. I can’t guarantee as to how many people I'll convince, but my impression is that there will be a majority that supports my position in the Senate and in Congress.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)