Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvirצילום: חופשי

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) pushed back Wednesday morning, following criticism by President Joe Biden of the Israeli government’s handling of the judicial reform crisis.

On Tuesday, Biden said he is “very concerned” about the judicial overhaul, adding Israel “cannot continue down this road.”

Biden also added he will not be inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in the near term.

Speaking with Galei Tzahal Wednesday morning, Ben-Gvir fired back that Israel is independent of the United States, and that Biden’s criticism was inappropriate.

“We respect the democratic system there [in the US], but… they need to understand that Israel is an independent country and not just another star on the American flag.”

“It needs to be clear to countries around the world, the people here had an election and expressed their will.”

Education Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) also responded to Biden’s comments, telling Kan Reshet Bet: “We all respect the American president, he can say what his position is regarding any issue involving Israel.”

“But with all due respect, Israel is a sovereign nation and it makes its decisions here. There can be American criticism, but the decisions are our own.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed Biden’s criticism, while emphasizing Israel’s independence.

“I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel. The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us,” said Netanyahu.

“My administration is committed to strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government, which we are striving to achieve via a broad consensus,” he added.

“Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends,” stressed Netanyahu.