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Bennett affirms commitment to Israel’s national security in light of Iranian nuclear threat

Blames instability under former prime minister for negatively impacting national security

Prime Minister Bennett speaking at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Jan. 10, 2022 (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the unstable government under the former administration had a negative impact on the national security of Israel.

“The primary importance this year is stabilizing the Israeli system. The Israeli system had been deteriorating for several years, which severely impaired the national security of Israel in all its aspects,” Bennett said at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

Bennett addressed the current state of Israel’s national security as nuclear negotiations between Iran and several world powers resumed in Vienna.

“We have stabilized the system, we passed a budget, the Israeli economy is strong and is growing by approximately 7% thanks to our policy against lockdowns, which has allowed the economy to return to normal,” Bennett added.

Bennett stated that the government will be investing “quite a significant amount of money” to strengthen Israel’s military, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)  – consisting of the army, navy and air force – as well as the nation’s security establishment. 

“This strengthening is important for our existence,” he continued, “and I am very pleased about it and am determined to complete it quickly.”

The prime minister then addressed what he called Israel’s top security threat at the moment - Iran, which he declared is “the head of an octopus that constantly threatens Israel on all its borders via its proxies and its tentacles.”

He said Israel has been dealing with the Iranian threat day and night, and that the new approach to Iran is that of “consistent offense” and not only of “consistent defense.”

Just last week, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that while Israel is not against an agreement with Iran, that any agreement must prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

While Bennett’s administration is concerned about the outcome of the latest round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna, the prime minister emphasized Israel’s autonomous stance.

“It is important for me to say here clearly and unequivocally: Israel is not a party to the agreements," Bennett said. "Israel is not bound to what will be written in the agreements if they are signed. Israel will maintain unlimited and unrestricted freedom of action, everywhere and at all times."

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