Minister Bennett: Now is Most Fateful Time for Israel Since Yom Kippur War
On a mission in the U.S. to represent Israel’s position on the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, the Jewish state’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was blunt and to the point, speaking before a crowd at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y Sunday.
“It is the most fateful days since the Yom Kippur War in Israel,” he said, referring to the time since the founding of modern Israel that the country was most in peril.
“If a decade from now, God forbid, a nuclear suitcase blows up in an American city, we will be able to trace it back to these days, where a bad deal was signed,” he warned, reiterating his country’s very public insistence that world powers, now negotiating with Tehran over the country’s nuclear program, don’t ease up on sanctions unless Iran agrees to give up its nuclear infrastructure.
“If a nuclear missile hits Rome or Paris or Madrid or Tel Aviv five years from now, it will be because of these days,” he continued, explaining, “Because if Iran does acquire a nuclear weapon, the entire region is telling us right now, they are being very upfront, we want one too. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, the Emirates, the Middle East is going to be a hell, it is going to be a nuclear nightmare with all these rouge maniacal regimes with bombs.”
“Now is the time to prevent all this,” he cautioned. “We are giving it (diplomacy) our best shot, but I will be clear, whatever happens, in any event, Israel has the ability to defend itself and Israel will defend itself,” Bennett pledged. The crowd in the half full auditorium responded with enthusiastic applause.
Highlighting the nature of the Iranian regime and its terror activism across the globe the Minister described Iran as the world’s biggest exporter of terror. “We are not talking about Switzerland, these guys aren’t dancing ballet,” he said. “These are terrorists operating in over 5 continents and 24 states, exporting terror from Kazakhstan to Thailand, to Israel. They were about to murder an ambassador in Washington D.C.”
Bennett was interviewed at the event by Dan Senor, author of the popular book, Start Up Nation, which covers Israel’s economic successes in the field of innovation. A start-up entrepreneur himself Bennett touted Israel as a “lighthouse nation” which shares valuable technologies with developing nations around the world.
Addressing Israel’s ongoing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, Bennett was equally forthright. “Indeed Prime Minister Netanyahu is very focused on moving forward towards founding a Palestinian State in the land of Israel, and I vehemently oppose it,” he said.
“I don’t think they are going to reach a deal, and I don’t think anyone thinks they are going to reach a deal,” he added, explaining, “Let’s assume they do reach a deal with Abu Mazen (PA President Mahmoud Abbas) for Judea and Samaria. Does it also cover Gaza? Or do we have to give up all of Judea and Samaria and then we are left with 1.5 million people (in Gaza) who say […] we are not part of the deal, we still want to kill you?”
“I am not willing to risk my children’s lives for some experiment that some American or European thinks is the right way,” he said.