Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday evening that he will address the United States Congress - despite the objection to the speech from the left.
Netanyahu’s comments, which echoed remarks he made at Sunday morning’s weekly cabinet meeting, were made at a meeting of the Likud Central Committee, ahead of the party’s official announcement of its list for the Knesset.
"When Iran is forging ahead, and continuing its preparations to develop nuclear weapons, the Israeli Prime Minister must appear before the world, in Paris, in Washington and everywhere else - and present the Israeli side in spite of the detractors," Netanyahu said. "He must say proudly: We will not surrender to terrorism, we will not allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state.”
He had harsh criticism for the left, particularly for the joint Labor-Hatnua list, which is calling itself the “Zionist Camp”.
"The left does not stop groveling to the international community, bows its head and only offers more concessions," Netanyahu said. "You know that the day after the election the left will run to make concessions to [Palestinian Authority chairman] Abbas and to others. This is not the Labor party of the past. It has been pushed back and disappeared. This is the extreme left. It's not the Zionist camp, it’s the anti-Zionist camp."
Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress weeks before the election in Israel has raised the ire of leftists, who have filed a petition with the Central Elections Committee to demand that Israeli media outlets not broadcast Netanyahu's speech live, claiming it will violate Israel’s election laws.
The left’s criticism comes despite the fact that 19 years ago, then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited the U.S. to meet then-President Bill Clinton - a mere month before elections.
Peres's visit at the time came on the background of his government's inability to stop Arab terrorism, and Netanyahu was the head of the opposition then, accusing Peres of "manipulating" his close relations with Clinton to help his chances in the elections.
Following Sunday evening’s conference, Netanyahu met with Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who was shot by a terrorist several months ago.
At the meeting, Netanyahu asked Glick to convince residents of Judea and Samaria to vote for the Likud, to which Glick responded, “They are sure you will go with Buji (Herzog -ed.) the following day.”
Netanyahu then assured Glick that he has no intentions of doing so.