Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared on Sunday on the satirical television program Matzav HaUma (State of the Union), which airs on Channel 2.
While much of the interview was funny, given the nature of the program, the Prime Minister also made some comments on serious issues, among which was a warning that Iran’s nuclear program is dangerous for Israel.
"Iran is an anti-Semitic country that wants to destroy us. Iran is no joke,” said Netanyahu. “I would not joke about oppressors in our history. In the past, the Jewish people were not good about seeing danger in time. Again and again we were surprised. That will not happen under my leadership. I don’t care if they accuse me of creating spins. I see a danger to the Jewish state and I am working to ward off that danger. That is what the people of Israel expect me to do.”
Referring to the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), Netanyahu said that he would not be willing up to concede any territory, only to have Iran and its proxies take over that territory.
"I gave the Bar-Ilan speech in which I said I was willing to recognize their state, so long as they recognize our state,” he said. “They have not yet recognized our right to this land. I am waiting for [PA Chairman] Abbas to give a speech of his own, in which he will tell his people that the Jews have a state and they have a right to their own state alongside their state. I'm waiting.”
Asked about recent sayings by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon which raised the ire of the United States and which caused the State Department to demand an apology, Netanyahu suggested it was best to talk less and do more.
"Bogie is an excellent defense minister. We do an excellent job. Sometimes it’s better to do more and talk less,” he said.
"The people of the United States like Israel, the American people love Israel,” continued Netanyahu. “Sometimes there are disagreements between friends. The relationship with America is important and powerful. I am nurturing that relationship with members of Congress, with the president and with the American people. But we are an independent and sovereign state and always reserve the right to defend ourselves with help from our friends, but also on our own.”
Finally, the issue of the media attacks on Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, was raised in the interview, particularly in light of the latest lawsuit by the Netanyahus’ former housekeeper.
"They say that being Prime Minister of Israel is the toughest job in the world. Being the wife of the Prime Minister of Israel is also probably one of the toughest jobs in the world,” said Netanyahu.
“They are defaming my wife’s image and forget she is a person, but she is handling it with bravery,” he added. “I don’t know if another human being could stand it. They portray her as a burden? She is the source of my power. I love her.”
Comedian Orna Banai, one of the hosts of the show, then tried to answer sarcastically, but the Prime Minister replied by telling her that he and his wife had adopted the Meatless Monday initiative, of which Banai is an advocate.
"I have one request. Maybe you can define Monday as the day on which you will not attack the Prime Minister of Israel? Only one day?” he said.