A three-hour long meeting of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet Friday ended with a unanimous rejection of the "framework deal" with Iran over its nuclear program.
The deal, announced yesterday at a joint conference in Switzerland and widely celebrated as a "victory" in Iran, was quickly lauded by US President Barack Obama as an "historic" agreement.
"I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal it will make our country, our allies and our world safer," Obama asserted, insisting that despite criticisms the agreement would effectively cut off any options for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.
But despite Obama's claim that there was "no daylight" between the US's commitment to Israel's security and the framework deal, Israeli officials heavily criticized it as an "historic mistake".
"If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it is an historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous," said the officials, briefing journalists on condition of anonymity.
"It is a bad framework which will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. The framework gives international legitimacy to Iran's nuclear program, the only aim of which is to produce a nuclear bomb," they added.
During a conversation with Obama following the announcement, Netanyahu voiced his own strong objections to the deal, branding it a threat to Israel's very survival.
"A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel,” Netanyahu told Obama, according to the statement.
“Just two days ago, Iran said that ‘the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable,’ and in these fateful days Iran is accelerating the arming of its terror proxies to attack Israel.”
“This deal would legitimize Iran's nuclear program, bolster Iran's economy, and increase Iran's aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond. Such a deal would not block Iran's path to the bomb. It would pave it,” warned Netanyahu.
“It would increase the risks of nuclear proliferation in the region and the risks of a horrific war. The alternative is standing firm and increasing the pressure on Iran until a better deal is achieved," Netanyahu told Obama.
In Congress as well - where legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed serious concerns over the pending deal - House Speaker John Boehner branded the agreement "an alarming departure" from the president's own declared goals. Nevertheless, legislators have given the White House a three-month reprieve on a bill to level harsher sanctions against Iran.