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Lapid on Israel-US Relations: 'Closeness Our Greatest Asset'

While Lapid admits in CNBC interview that nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous, he sees dispute with US over issue as temporary.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 12/2/2013, 5:10 PM

Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Flash 90

"People ask why we make so much noise about the agreement with Iran. For us this is not an academic debate or theoretical necessity," according to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, in an interview with CNBC Monday. "The Iranian regime is not about debating with Israel, but destroying it," he stated. 

Channel 10 reports that Lapid maintained in the interview that Israel, unlike other countries, is the only nation in the world to have threats of complete destruction launched at it. "We have painfully earned the right to be more concerned about [Iran's nuclear program] than other countries," he stated. Lapid is also a member of the State security cabinet. 

Lapid also addressed the fallout in US-Israel relations, particularly between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. "Our biggest strategic asset is our close relationship with the US - and it's a closeness we don't want to lose," Lapid declared. 

"We understand that the United States wants to good and has done the best under complicated circumstances," he continued, "and we believe that we have earned the right to be the ones who listen to them. It's alright to have disagreements 'within the family,' - as long as those disagreements 'stay in the family'." 

Sunday, senior officials at the White House criticized Netanyahu's conduct toward the US following last month's nuclear deal with Iran, stating that the Prime Minister is "weak" and "desperate." 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also attacked Netanyahu for "declaring war on the US administration" - remarks eventually shot down by MK Tzahi HaNegbi (Likud-Beytenu) as a political ploy.