Responding to harsh criticism by senior US officials, Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday night, “The United States administration is planning to throw Israel under the bus.”
Referring to a report by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic that quoted officials in Washington as describing Netanyahu as “chickenshit,” Bennett slammed Obama administration officials.
“Not the leader of Syria who has massacred 150,000 of his citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and homosexuals, nor the leader of Iran who murdered demonstrators for freedom were called ‘chickenshit,’” Bennett wrote.
“The prime minister is not a private individual, but the leader of the Jewish State and the Jewish world as a whole. Serious curses such as these against the Israeli Prime Minister are harmful to millions of citizens of Israel and Jews worldwide,” Bennett wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.
“Israel is the only democratic nation in the Middle East and has been fighting for its existence for 66 years,” he continued. “Israel is the forward bastion of the free world in the face of Islamic terrorist of Islamic State, Hezbollah and Iran.”
“Instead of attacking Israel and forcing it to accept suicidal terms, it should be strengthened. I call on the US administration to renounce these coarse comments and to reject them” Bennett wrote.
“Israel is stronger than all those who curse it,” he added.
The Atlantic’s article highlights the growing tension in diplomatic relations between Israel and the US. Described as a “full-blown crisis”, a senior US official said that the “unbreakable” bond between the two nations “is now the worst it’s ever been.”
US officials are being frustrated in what they describe as Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career-preservation” and nothing more.
On Monday, the US condemned Netnayahu’s decision to approve the construction of 1,000 new homes in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Paski said that Israel’s decision to build across the Green Line was “incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.”
Netanyahu rebuffed the criticism, stating: “We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
“I have heard a claim that our construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant. It is the criticism which is make peace more distant,” he added.