Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) responded sharply after US President Barack Obama continued his condemnation of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pre-election comments, in which he said a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch and warned of massive Arab voter turnout.
Striking back at Obama's criticism of Netanyahu's remarks, Levin said, "we have much appreciation and respect for the president of the United States, but there's no place for statements which constitute interfering in the internal affairs of Israel."
The minister continued, "the time has come for leaders of the West to open their eyes and take care of the true problems threatening world peace, with radical Islam at the forefront, and stop the incessant preoccupation with the state of Israel, which is the only democracy in the region and is struggling practically alone for the future of the free world."
In Obama's statements, made in an interview with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, he said that Netanyahu's warning that large Arab turnout might harm the Likud's chances of forming a nationalist government was "contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence."
Netanyahu's warning added that the Arab voters were being bused to polling stations by V15 and other foreign funded leftist NGOs, with accusations indicating that Obama's hand may have been partially behind the effort to oust Netanyahu.
Obama said that Netanyahu's statements regarding a Palestinian state and Arab voters have "foreign-policy consequences" regarding the US's support for Israel, even despite the fact that Netanyahu later apologized and distanced from both statements.