In the wake of reports of unprecedented tension between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) said on Thursday that “politically, the Israeli government has completely taken leave of its senses.”
“Every day sees another front opened against our friends in the world,” said Herzog.
His comment came after a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US had cancelled a shipment to Israel of Hellfire missiles amid worsening ties over the fighting in Gaza. The State Department later confirmed a new review of arms sales to Israel.
“We don’t have to agree with the US on every issue,” Herzog said. “There are essential matters that Israel has the full right to decide, and there are matters of style and protocol. This government is consistently failing in both of them.”
Reports of fraying relations with Washington were worrying, said Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, earlier in the day. “This is a disturbing trend and we cannot allow it to continue,” he said. “Our relations with the United States are a strategic asset that must be maintained.”
The Wall Street Journal report said that the Obama administration had blocked the missile shipment, which had been approved by the Pentagon, and would begin to monitor Israeli arms requests and have them subject to White House and State Department approval.
The decision to evaluate separately every request by the Israeli military came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Jerusalem with arms without their knowledge, the newspaper report said.