Photo: AP
'US is our best friend and ally.' Ayalon
Photo: AP
Ayalon: Israel is not alone
Former ambassador to US tells Ynetnews Iran's attempt to get US to rule out military option failed

Iran has attempted to dispatch emissaries to try and get the United States to rule out military action against Tehran, and their efforts have failed, former Israeli Ambassador to the US, and Co-Chairman of the Nefesh B'Nefesh aliyah program, said during an interview with Ynetnews.


"I can tell you here, that Iran sent many emissaries who tried get the US to declare that the military option is not on the table, and the US has never done that," Ayalon told Ynetnews.


"I think the UN Security Council resolution of December… under chapter seven is a very important step in the right direction," he added, "although its language is not severe."


"As we move forward they will ratchet up the pressure," Ayalon said.


He added that Israel was not alone in facing the Iranian threat, and that the US was capable and willing of focusing the international community on the regime of the ayatollahs in Tehran.


"I don't think Israel is alone. The US is our best friend and ally, and I believe we are best friend and ally of the US here in this region," he said, adding: “Iran is not just an Israeli problem. It is, first and foremost, a problem of the entire international community, and the countries and peoples of region, and Israel is just one part of the international community. It is incumbent upon the international community to stop the Iranians.


"Here the US is instrumental… in bringing the international community to focus on Iran, and I believe we'll see further steps if the Iranians will not relent. It is time now to change the dynamic, because right now, time is on the side of the Iranians - we have to turn tables on them, and start to exact a price," Ayalon said.


Ayalon blasted the Baker-Hamilton report, and its attempt to place the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the core of the Middle East's crises.


"To put Israel as heart of problem in the Middle East is just factually wrong. Nobody will convince me, or anyone who has eyes in their head, that Sunnis are killing Shiites in Baghdad because of the Israeli-Palstinian conflict," Ayalon said, adding that Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Iran-Iraq war, and Syria's invasion of Lebanon had nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


"So all those who talk about the totality of the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict, that this is the key, is wrong factually and also conceptually," Ayalon said.


Ayalon added he was confident that the Democratic Party would not adopt such a view, and would remain steadfast allies of the Israeli people.


'Aliyah means we're here to stay'

Ayalon has recently taken up the post of Co-Chairman of the Nefesh B'Nefesh program, which brings immigrants to Israel from Western nations.


"I am pleasantly surprised by the number of those who voluntarily came. There are 10,000 who have already come (with Nefesh B'Nefesh), and 50,000 are on the waiting list – they would like to come right away," Ayalon said.


"I thought its really an ingenious and very great idea, whereby they are facilitating those who have already committed, and who would like to come, out of Zionistic feelings," he said.


"But people put it off due to mundane, daily problems, such as education, kids, jobs, financial problems. Nefesh B'Nefesh locates, first of all, those who would like to come back home, and helps with their absorption, and with the bureaucracy here. This is a great model which shows results. What I was most impressed with is the retentions rate here, which is 99 percent," Ayalon said.


"Bearing in mind aliya is the most important means to secure Israel's future, I didn't hesitate to accept the offer," said the former ambassador, adding: "Aliyah, aside from the contribution to the state of Israel in terms of the economy, in terms of strengthening society, in terms of many things - to me aliyah is a message to friends and foes alike that we are here to stay. This is the most important thing to me."


Ayalon also said he hoped North American immigrants could help Israel improve its political culture, and introduce accountability and transparency, "which we so very much need - and lack - here in Israel."


He added that part of the success of Nefesh B'Nefesh was based in its ability to prepare new immigrants for the culture shock they faced, and which was a universal aspect of moving countries.


"It is a shock, so it has to be addressed. Once we recognize that, and prepare them ahead of time - before they ever set foot in Israel – I think this mitigates a lot of the uncertainty. When they are assured of jobs, and of housing, and they are told about the system… it alleviates pressures and trepidations," he added. 


פרסום ראשון: 01.10.07, 20:13
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