Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's evocative speech at the UN General Assembly provoked strong reactions from Israeli MKs Monday night, both for praise and for criticism.
Netanyahu addressed a wide range of subjects, including Hamas, ISIS, Iran, anti-Semitism, and Israeli-Palestinian issues. All he linked under the theme of global partnership and the war against global jihad (and, by extension, extremism).
Leftist MKs were largely unimpressed by Netanyahu's speech, however, claiming it dodged what many leftist believes is the real issue: the two-state solution.
“Netanyahu knows how to give an address, and I agreed with a lot of his statements, but the problem is that the world is not listening to him," Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) stated Monday.
“It’s not clear which Netanyahu we should believe — the one who speaks again about a political compromise; or the one who, during his five-year leadership, took care not to advance a political initiative."
Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On agreed, but was decidedly less diplomatic.
“Netanyahu must understand that the world doesn’t care what he says. It cares what he does. And he does nothing!" Gal-On fired. “It’s time Netanyahu stopped his whining and victimized campaign of intimidation to the world, and began to examine what he can do to improve the reality that his dreadful government has created."
"This speech is an official stamp of the total failure of Netanyahu to rescue Israel from the cycle of bloodshed and endless violence," she concluded.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel took the criticism in a different direction, calling Netanyahu "a copywriter."
"We knew before the speech that Netanyahu is a talented copywriter, but Israel does not need a copywriter, but a leader," Cabel stated.
The problem, Cabel said, was that Netanyahu focused heavily on facts rather than emotions.
"Rather than showing the world that, while the Palestinians are trying to thwart the peace process, Israel extends its hand in peace, Netanyahu, as expected, prefers to be smart," Cabel continued. "The Prime Minister could have been able to amaze the world and gain countless points in world opinion. Instead, we got another classic Bibi speech style: full of impressive but predictable rhetoric and disappointing content."
"Alas, another missed opportunity," he concluded.
Labor MK Shelly Yechimovich added additional criticism, puzzlingly taking Netanyahu to task over statements the Prime Minister did, in fact, address.
"It was unexpected and disappointing," Yechimovich said, claiming that "Netanyahu did not present the slightest line saying there are Israeli citizens who yearn for hope." Oddly, however, Netanyahu opened the speech itself by saying "Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel pray for peace," - referring to essentially the same concept.
In a similar remark, Yechimovich questioned why Netanyahu did not paint Israel as different from Islamists in the Middle East.
"Of course there is no dispute that ISIS is crazy and threatening. But precisely because of Islamic extremism, Netanyahu could have presented Israel as different, as peaceful," she continued. "Netanyahu did not miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity."
Netanyahu did say, however, that Israel is a place "where issues are openly debated in our boisterous parliament," in a paragraph contrasting Israel to both Hamas and ISIS, which have repeatedly repressed minorities.