Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday
Photo: Screenshot
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday

Netanyahu: Israel will do all it can to counter Iran, even at expense of U.S. ties

PM says confronting existential threat posed by Tehran is most important issue; Gantz hits back at remarks, saying differences of opinion with Israel's greatest ally must be resolved through direct dialogue and not damaging confrontational comments

Itamar Eichner, Yoav Zitun |
Published: 06.01.21, 16:00
Israel will do everything in its power to counter the Iranian nuclear program, even at the expense of the country's vital relationship with the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • "If we have to choose between friction with the U.S. and eliminating the existential threat - the existential threat is greater," Netanyahu said at a ceremony for the new director of the Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a ceremony to welcome the new head of Mossad on Tuesday
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    His comments earned a swift rebuke from Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
    "The biggest threat we face is the existential threat posed by Iran's attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said at the ceremony.
    "It is a threat that endangers the continuation of the Zionist enterprise, and we must fight that threat endlessly," he said.
    "I said these things to my friend of 40 years [U.S. President] Joe Biden, and I told him: 'With or without agreement, we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.' For Iran is not like the other countries that today have nuclear capabilities," Netanyahu said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Protesters carrying the flag of an Iranian opposition group stand opposite police officers near the Vienna hotel as the nuclear talks with Iran were taking place last month
    Protesters carrying the flag of an Iranian opposition group stand opposite police officers near the Vienna hotel as the nuclear talks with Iran were taking place last month
    Members of an Iranian opposition group protest near the Vienna hotel where nuclear talks with Iran were taking place, April 2021
    (Photo: AP)
    The prime minister has long warned that Iran's nuclear aspirations poses the greatest threat to Israel and has vehemently opposed the Biden administration's current efforts to revive the 2015 agreement to curb Tehran's atomic activity.
    Gantz, who is tapped to continue in his role as defense minister in the coalition currently being put together to replace the Netanyahu government, stressed the importance of the relationship with the U.S.
    "The United States," Gantz said, "has been and will continue to be Israel's most important ally in maintaining its security and military superiority in the region. The Biden administration is a true friend of Israel.
    "Israel has not and will not have a better partner than the U.S. Even if there are disagreements, they must be resolved through direct dialogue behind closed doors and not in confrontational comments that could damage Israel's security," he said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בנימין נתניהו עם ראש המוסד היוצא יוסי כהן וראש המוסד הנכנס דוד ברנע
    בנימין נתניהו עם ראש המוסד היוצא יוסי כהן וראש המוסד הנכנס דוד ברנע
    L-R: Newly retired Mossad director Yossi Cohen, his replacement David Barnea and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a handover ceremony for the intelligence agency chief on Tuesday
    (Photo: GPO)
    The defense minister conceded that Iran poses a global threat, but said that Israel maintained its military dominance in the Middle East.
    "Iran is a threat to regional stability and world peace. It is a country that generates terrorism and promotes a nuclear program that is dangerous to the State of Israel, even so, Israel is the most powerful country in the region within a 1,500km radius of Jerusalem."
    Barnea on Tuesday replaced Yossi Cohen as head of Mossad, as the latter retires after 38 years with the intelligence agency. Cohen was seen a close ally of Netanyahu, who played a key role in the recent agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.
    Talkbacks for this article 0