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Israel: Defeated Prime Minister Attacks Biden in Exit Speech

Israel: Defeated Prime Minister Attacks Biden in Exit Speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year rule ended Sunday. Lawmakers voted 60-59 for a new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. 

The coalition was announced last week. It is an unlikely alliance of eight political parties that sought to oust Netanyahu and avoid another round of elections. The group includes right-wing and left-wing parties and – for the first time in Israel’s history – an Arab party. The coalition will be led by Bennett (an ultranationalist) for two years. It will then be led by Lapid (a centrist) for two years. 

“Congratulations to @naftalibennett & @yairlapid on forming a new government in Israel,” tweeted UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. “I look forward to continued cooperation on security, trade, and climate change and working together to secure peace in the region.”

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations. Israel has no better friend than the United States,” said President Joe Biden in a statement.

In his final speech to the Knesset, a furious Netanyahu attacked Bennett and the Biden Administration. 

“The new US Administration requested that I save our disagreements on the Iran nuclear deal for behind closed doors, and not share them publicly…I told them I won’t act that way,” said Netanyahu, a staunch opponent of the deal known as the JCPOA.

“I’ve heard what Bennett said [about standing firm against Iran] and I’m concerned, because Bennett does the opposite of what he promises,” continued Netanyahu. “The prime minister of Israel needs to be able to say no to the president of the United States on issues that threaten our existence.”

As stated during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month, Netanyahu believes the nuclear deal “paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”

Now, Iran is celebrating my defeat because “they understand that starting today there will be a weak and unstable government that will align with the dictates of the international community,” said Netanyahu, who compared a return to the JCPOA to President Roosevelt’s 1944 decision not to bomb the train tracks leading to Auschwitz.

“I have just one, modest request,” concluded Netanyahu. “Try to ruin the economy that we are leaving you as little as possible, so that we can fix it as quickly as possible when we return to power.”

Sources:

Netanyahu tries to go ‘scorched earth’ in last speech, swipes at Biden administration over Iran 

Netanyahu Out, Naftali Bennett in, World Leaders React 

Israel’s new prime minister is sworn in, ending Netanyahu’s 12-year grip on power

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