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      Elkin: Netanyahu Should Ignore Jewish Pressure

      Deputy Foreign Minister says Netanyahu is responsible first and foremost to Israelis.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 4/14/2013, 1:10 PM

      MK Zev Elkin
      MK Zev Elkin
      Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s first responsibility is to Israelis, Deputy Foreign Minister Zev Elkin said Sunday, responding to a letter from American Jewish leaders calling on Netanyahu to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority. 

      “The government of Israel’s responsibility is first and foremost to provide security for its citizens and a secure future for the Israel,” Elkin said, according to Ma'ariv.

      “Pressure from overseas should not guide the Prime Minister in the delicate management of the diplomatic process,” he added.

      The letter from Jewish leaders in the United States in early April stated, “We believe that this is a compelling moment for you and your new government to respond to President [Barack] Obama’s call for peace by taking concrete confidence-building steps designed to demonstrate Israel’s commitment to a ‘two states for two peoples’ solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      “We urge you, in particular, to work closely with Secretary of State John Kerry to devise pragmatic initiatives, consistent with Israel’s security needs, which would represent its readiness to make painful territorial sacrifices for the sake of peace.”

      According to Ma'ariv, the letter from U.S. Jews caused upset among Russian Jewish leaders, who responded with a letter of their own. The letter from Russia stated that decisions regarding Israel’s national security should not be influenced by outside pressure, “not even from the influential American Jewish community.”