Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program before the UN General Assembly, complete with a resort to a cartoon bomb drawing, drew predictably mixed reactions from political supporters and rivals at home on Thursday night.
Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) spoke in support of the prime minister’s delineation of “red lines” for Iran’s nuclear program, which, if crossed, would precipitate a Western military campaign.
“Where red lines were set [in past historical crises], the evil could be contained, and when this was not the case, evil managed to take away quite a few lives,” the minister said.
Netanyahu loyalist MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) said “the whole world now realizes how dangerous a nuclear Iran is.”
Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) joined the chorus of Netanyahu’s supporters, saying, “One hopes the speech will make the world realize the Iranian threat is a real threat. The United Nations must fulfill its historic role and find a way to stop Iran’s nuclear program before such an option will no longer be available.”
On the other hand, opposition Meretz party chair MK Zahava Gal-On was critical of Netanyahu’s presentation, saying that “with Netanyahu, economics is limited to the realm of diagrams, unemployment exists in diagrams only, and now the trend has passed on to the Iranian nuclear program.”
Kadima chair Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the opposition, also sounded a skeptical note, saying “Netanyahu drew a nice sketch, not an international roadmap that could halt the nuclear program.”
Labor Party chair Shelly Yachimovich said “red lines are not set by brandishing pictures on a stage, but rather through talks held in closed rooms, and the renewal of trust between us and our most important ally — the United States.”
MK Eitan Cabel, also Labor, seemed torn between wary support and sarcasm: “Israeli citizens can now breath easily as they received a calming alarm,” he said. “The prime minister gave the world a lesson in nuclear physics for beginners,” the MK added, referring to Netanyahu’s graphic breakdown of the workings of a nuclear weapon with the aid of a cartoon image of a bomb and a red magic marker. “Let us hope those on the other side learned something.”