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Obama Speech Elicits Mixed Reactions From Israeli MKs

President Obama’s speech to AIPAC on Sunday elicited diverse reactions from Israeli officials.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/5/2012, 1:33 PM

Obama at AIPAC
Obama at AIPAC
Reuters

President Obama’s speech to AIPAC on Sunday elicited a myriad of diverse reactions from Israeli officials.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) scoffed at Obama’s pledges and assurances that he will protect Israel’s security, noting that history has proven that Israel can rely only on itself.

“Looking back at the way the United States criticized Israel for destroying the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Israel must make its decisions based on its own good judgment,” Danon stated.

Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) said, “There is a saying that it’s easier to watch a fire from far away.”

“We are facing an existential threat, not the US. If Israel doesn’t bluster, the US will also be in danger, because Iran’s missiles will reach them too. Israel is doing everything possible to keep the world safe, and it’s unfortunate that the White House doesn’t see things the way we see them here,” Kara stated.

Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed Obama's call for diplomacy, affirming that Israel, like any other independent state, will make the "correct decisions" in order to ensure its safety and security. 

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, on the other hand said Obama’s speech was “an extraordinary speech and supportive” and that last night that Israel and the U.S. reached a “perfect synchronization.”

"I am a great believer in sanctions," Shalom stressed, "but if they do not work, we must remember that all options are on the table."

Leader of the Opposition, Tzipi Livni, blamed the tension between Israel and the U.S. on Netanyahu and speculated that the meeting between the two leaders at the White House may not reflect the pro-Israel stance that Obama is trying to emanate to the pro-Israel lobby.

"Netanyahu must understand that relations with the US are an essential need," she said. “Our deterrence depends on it. He will be tested on whether he is able to enlist the US into our interests or whether he will continue just manipulating internal American politics,” she continued.