In a dramatic move, Israel and the United States have established a joint task force to contain Iran reports JTA. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed the information to U.S. Jewish leaders in a Rosh Hashanah call.
Traditionally, both Bennett and his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu have opposed negotiating a deal with Tehran to contain its nuclear program. However, in his first meeting with the Israeli premier last week, US President Joe Biden sought to appease Israeli concerns by implying an openness to resorting to a military option in order to contain Iran.
During the call Friday morning with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Bennett said that the joint team emerged from the talks he had with Biden as well as other senior officials.
“The immediate follow-up was to form a joint team based on the joint objectives of rolling Iran back into their box and preventing Iran from ever being able to break out a nuclear weapon,” Bennett said. “We set up a joint team with our national security advisor and America’s, and we’re working very hard, and the cooperation is great.”
Bennett emphasized that he is against Washington’s reentering the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, he added that he wouldn’t allow Biden’s plans for reentry to define his relationship with the Potus.
“Instead of fighting all day on the JCPOA — and I want to make clear, I oppose the JCPOA … but I understand where America stands,” Bennett said. “Our strategy does not depend on ‘Yes or no JCPOA.’ And in any case, the president was very clear about he won’t accept Iran going nuclear now or in the future.”
Bennett also stressed the importance of rebuilding relations with Democrats following years of tension under Netanyahu’s leadership.
“We got such a warm reception,” he said of his meeting with Biden. The leaders will disagree in some areas, he said, but “the good spirit means we’re going to be mensches with each other.” Biden echoed similar sentiments in a Rosh Hashanah call on Thursday with rabbis, calling Bennett a “gentleman.”
Bennett said that he presented to Biden a strategy to confront the Islamic Republic by creating a regional alliance to prevent Iran from going nuclear and to quash its influence in the region, which Israel and Sunni Arab states see as dangerous.