The Iranian nuclear deal did not satisfy Israel but may have improved the Jewish state’s relations with some of its Sunni Muslim neighbors.
“The Iranian threat has caused or brought together very unlikely partners in the Middle East that all realize a radical, maniacal regime that will get ahold of a nuclear weapon is a threat to the entire world — to Saudi Arabia, to Egypt, to Israel and to America, for that matter,” Israeli Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview during his visit to Atlanta for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gala Monday night, May 8.
Media outlets, most recently The Wall Street Journal, and Middle East observers have said Israel is working with Saudi Arabia and Egypt on security matters.
“We must all create a very powerful coalition, which we are doing and have done so over the past few years, in creating a coalition of joint forces to oppose that,” Bennett said, adding his hope that the Trump administration will help that make that coalition effective.
Bennett would not provide specifics but said, “Once you define the objective to check Iran and its activities in dispersing terror and in acquiring a nuclear weapon, once you have that objective, it is achievable.”
Bennett said he does not believe the upcoming elections in Iran will improve the relationship between Israel and Iran. “The basis of the Persian people is a very good one. They are smart, and they want their lives. But they have been hijacked by a very bad regime from back in the ’70s, and I hope that they will one day relieve themselves of that regime. But until that time, we have to take the threat very seriously.”
Bennett also spoke about the latest UNESCO resolution denying a Jewish historical or legal connection to any of Jerusalem. The resolution passed 22-10 with 23 abstentions Tuesday, May 2.
“The U.N. in some sense has become ridiculous theater, a theater of absurdity,” said Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party. “Every time they come up with a rule that says, for example, Jews have no connection to Israel, they don’t undermine Israel; they undermine themselves. So it’s just becoming ridiculous and in a sense also meaningless.”
He said Israel has cut ties with UNESCO “until such time as they begin to act reasonably.”
FIDF gala photos by Marcia Caller Jaffe