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Hotovely: Olmert's Remarks 'Hutzpa of a Failed Prime Minister'

Deputy Transportation Minister attacks former PM for criticizing Netanyahu, states 'he has no idea what being Prime Minister means.'
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 12/2/2013, 10:37 PM / Last Update: 12/2/2013, 11:07 PM

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely
Flash 90

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely attacked former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comments about the current Prime Minister Monday, in an interview with Arutz Sheva Radio

Earlier Monday, Olmert sharply criticized current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for airing differences between Israel and the US regarding the deal reached by world powers last week on Iran's nuclear program.

"We've declared war on the Obama administration," he lamented Sunday, in a public debate at the Institute for National Security Studies. "We must steer clear of anything that would give the impression that we want to lock horns with our biggest ally." 

Hotovely fired back that "there is a misunderstanding about the role of [the] Prime Minister, who was chosen by the people to stand up for Israel on its own, even against the President [of the United States]" and reiterated that Netanyahu was attempting to prevent a "historic mistake" on the scale of the Munich Agreement. 

The Munich Agreement was the deal made between Nazi Germany and major world powers to allow the Third Reich to invade parts of Czechoslovakia. That agreement was seen by many as a failed attempt at German appeasement which led to the Second World War. 

Hotovely was not impressed by the attempt to portray Netanyahu as harming relations between Israel and the United States. According to her, Netanyahu is well versed in the mysteries of diplomacy and yet he understands that there is a serious error at play when the American government allowed the continued Iranian uranium enrichment under the interim deal.

Moreover, Hotovely maintained that Israeli Prime Ministers have set a precedent for defying the US at times, citing both Ben-Gurion's leadership in general and Begin's decision to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak in 1981 in particular. "It's the role of the Prime Minister to help us stand up for ourselves," she declared. 

Regarding the manner in which Netanyahu delivered his criticism of the US decision, Hotovely believes that sometimes there comes time where polite diplomacy fails, where Israel has to declare its position forcefully.

Hotovely notes that this period - both before the interim agreement and during - may be the most critical in the Middle East for the past twenty years, and that Netanyahu was only trying to prevent a critical mistake from being made that could harm Israel and world security. "[Netanyahu] has dedicated his life to protecting Israel," she stated. 

Regarding Olmert's statements, Hotovely remarked that it came from "the insolence of someone who failed as Prime Minister. He ties Israel's hands by claiming that we will not attack [Iran]. He takes Israel's basic right to security off the agenda," she fired.

"[Olmert] insists that the deal is better for everyone, but the deal is not working at all. He would have rather seen Jerusalem divided in the name of international appeasement than worry about Israel's security in the long-term," Hotovely concluded. 

Hotovely's remarks follow equally fierce criticism from MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), who defended the Prime Minister on IDF Radio. "He spoke only about one thing, as if we have one enemy, Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Hanegbi said. “It is too bad that he wasted such an important and meaningful event on personal matters against the prime minister.”