Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
UN General Assembly
address, during which he busted out a red marker and an illustration of a bomb to demonstrate Iran's
worrisome nuclear progress, drew varied responses from his fellow politicians.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai waxed poetic, expressing hope that "Netanyahu's speech would serve as the call of the Shofar that would lead to a global awakening," referring to the ram's horn traditionally sounded during the Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
Most of the rejoinders focused on the bomb diagram and the red line he had drawn on it in hope of convincing world leaders to set limits on the Islamic Republic's atom program.
Gimmickry? PM at UN General Assembly (Photo: AFP)
"Netanyahu drew a pretty diagram, but he failed to draw an effective international road map towards stopping the nuclear program," Opposition Chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima)
said. "The problem lies not in waiting for next spring or summer, but in the fact that the West is distancing itself from Israel
under Netanyahu's leadership.
"What needs to be achieved now is an agreement over these red lines, via discreet coordination with the United States," he added. "Setting a red line unilaterally restricts Israel's maneuvering room and isolates the threat as a Jewish problem, rather than a global one."
MK Shelly Yachimovich, who heads the Labor
Party, echoed Mofaz' sentiment: "Red lines are not achieved through drawing presented on stages, but in closed rooms and via cooperation and the restoration of trust between us and our most important ally – the United States."
She further blasted Netanyahu for equating the Iranian threat to the Holocaust.
Netanyahu and the bomb (Photo: EPA)
Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On resorted to punning: "Netanyahu dropped a bomb at the UN by announcing that Iran will have the bomb by next summer. With the stroke of a red pen, Netanyahu drew a diagram that would put (painter Menashe) Kadisman to shame."
She further accused the PM of employing gimmicks and tricks as tool of intimidation instead of sitting down with Obama for talks.
Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union),
on the other hand, questioned Netanyahu's apparent resolve to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. He suggested that the prime minister's speech was meant to appease the Palestinians in order to gain the international community's support on Iran, but at the same time asserted that it has become "quite clear the world won't lift a finger" to stop the Islamic Republic's atom program.
"Netanyahu is wasting precious time; he only talks instead of striking," he said, noting that the approach was not making headway with the Palestinians, either.
Yair Lapid's party, Yesh Atid, released a statement in support of Netanyahu's address, but also expressed concern over the state of the Israeli-American ties.
Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon joined Yishai and stepped out in defense of the prime minister. He noted that Netanyahu's demands were in line with "historic experience" that touches upon setting limits for "wayward regimes."
Meanwhile, Saeb Erekat, a member of the Palestinian delegation that has travelled to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting, said that Netanyahu's assembly speech "shows he has no desire for peace."
"Netanyahu doesn't talk about peace, or intend to make it," Erekat said.