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Livni Criticizes Netanyahu Over Dispute with Obama

Former Kadima chairwoman: Even if there is a dispute with the President of the United States it should be kept behind closed doors.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 9/15/2012, 1:01 AM

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Flash 90

Former Kadima chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had harsh criticism for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday, over his sparring with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week.

“Israel's greatest allies, those to whom the security of Israel is important, now see Israel as isolated in the world,” Livni, who returned from meetings in the United States, told Channel 2 News.

“There's a lot of anger about the Prime Minister’s conduct and his involvement in the U.S. elections,” she claimed. “They are really asking that Israel remove itself from the elections. Israel must continue to be a consensus among the American public.”

Regarding a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Livni said that one should always threaten with war in order to prevent one but added, “Even if there is a dispute with the President of the United States, it should be kept behind closed doors. Now, the Iranians are looking at the world and are not seeing a solid wall. At one time the U.S. stood alongside Israel in any situation and unfortunately this has turned around.”

“I say this clearly: The intentional rift that Netanyahu is creating with the United States, regardless of the cause, harms the security of the State and constitutes a lack of responsibility,” she concluded.

Netanyahu denied on Friday accusations that he is interfering in the U.S. presidential vote by pushing Obama to take a tougher stand on Iran's nuclear program.

 In newspaper interviews published ahead of the Jewish new year, Netanyahu dismissed accusations that he is trying to paint Obama as weak on Iran in order to boost support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

“That's nonsense,” he told the Yisrael Hayom daily. "The issue that guides me is not the elections in the United States but the centrifuges in Iran. What can we do if the centrifuges in Iran pay no attention to the political timetable in the United States?”

Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday said that Netanyahu's pursuit of a very public dispute with Obama over Iran was an attempt to sway voters against the U.S. leader in the November election.

"Israeli meddling in internal U.S. affairs and turning the U.S. administration from an ally to 'an enemy' has caused us severe damage," Mofaz charged during a Knesset session.

"Please explain to us: who is Israel's greatest enemy -- the US or Iran? Who do you fear more -- (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad or Obama? Which regime is more important to overthrow -- the one in Washington, or in Tehran?" he asked.

A senior administration official told The New York Times that Obama rejected, during his phone conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, an appeal by Netanyahu to spell out a specific “red line” that Iran could not cross in its nuclear program.

The official said this deepens the divide between the allies over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)