'Netanyahu's identification with Republican party is dangerous'

Yesh Atid chief slams Israeli government for allegedly allying itself with Republican party. 'We could have a big problem in 2020.'

David Rosenberg , | updated: 22:17

Netanyahu, Trump
Netanyahu, Trump
Flash 90

The Israeli government has aligned itself completely with the Republican party, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid claimed Thursday, threatening the future of Israel’s relations with its largest ally.

In an interview with Walla!, the Yesh Atid chief accused the Netanyahu government of identifying too closely with the Republican party, putting all of Israel’s eggs in one basket.

While the Grand Old Party currently holds the White House and both chambers of Congress, Lapid warned that two years from now, Israel could find itself regretting the Netanyahu government’s “identification” with Republicans.

“The fact that this government identifies completely with the conservative, Evangelical wing of the Republican party is dangerous,” said Lapid.

“In 2020, we could find ourselves facing a Democratic president and Congress, and a Democratic party bearing a grudge against us since 2015, in particular against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,” continued Lapid, alluding to Netanyahu’s 2015 address to the US Congress at the invitation of then-Speaker of the House John Boehner.

In his speech, Netanyahu urged Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear deal then being negotiated by the Obama administration. Some congressional Democrats boycotted the Israeli premier’s speech.

“If I’ll be Prime Minister, none of this will be a problem,” claimed Lapid. “But if Netanyahu will still be [Prime Minister], we’ll have a serious problem.”

The Netanyahu government, Lapid added, has also alienated many American Jews, “80% of whom are Democrats”.

Lapid recalled a conversation with Ted Deutch, a Congressional Democrat representing Florida’s 22nd district, shortly after the US embassy opened on Monday.

“He told me that he had asked to join the US delegation [to the embassy opening], but there was no response. There is no way the Israeli government didn’t know about that,” said Lapid. “It is the job of the Prime Minister’s Office to look at the lists and to say: ‘We have a non-partisan stance, we don’t have ties just with Republicans.’”

“The identification with the conservative Evangelical wing of the Republican party was made because of the good relationship with Trump. But it is a short-sighted relationship and isn’t very professional, and is tied to the fact that there is no one [leading] the Foreign Ministry or doing the job.”

The Foreign Ministry portfolio has been held by Netanyahu since his coalition was formed in 2015. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister tapped MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to serve as Deputy Foreign Minister.