Former Foreign Minister MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) on Saturday night criticized Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier in the day.
In an interview with Channel 12 News, Katz said, "In order for a person to be a mediator he must have either extraordinary international prestige or having Putin see him the way he saw Netanyahu - who has the ability to influence the President of the United States."
“Why does Israel need to stick its nose in this? The Americans do not need Bennett to mediate, there is an event that the US President is personally overseeing, there are senior US administration officials [involved]. There are NATO leaders here, there is the European Union, certainly Bennett is sticking his nose in this matter. There is no chance that Bennett – whose phone calls on the Iranian issue have not been taken by Biden for months – will be considered by Putin as someone who has the ability to influence the President," continued Katz.
"What the government should have done was convene before the crisis and make decisions about Israel's strategy. In the political sphere - first of all political coordination with the United States, our great and only ally in fact. In the field of security - coordination with Russia, which has a military presence in Syria, which is a very important arena for us because of the Iranian context. The third thing, the economic field - to prepare for the verification of the supply of inventories, the entire issue of the cost of living that is exacerbating."
In the interview, Katz also commented on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's decision earlier this week that Ambassador Gilad Erdan would not speak during the UN vote condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but rather his deputy.
"I think that, first and foremost, there was petty politics here," he said. "Erdan knows how to fulfill his role and lead policy. If they wanted to harm him politically - it is unnecessary and petty. And if they wanted to downgrade the diplomatic echelon, so that only the deputy would speak - that is a complete mistake."