Benjamin Netanyahu received the official word today from Israeli President Shimon Peres that he has six weeks to put together a coalition to lead the next government of Israel. The announcement came as the U.N. announced that Iran now has enough uranium to build its first nuclear weapon.
Given the seriousness of the growing crisis with Iran, Netanyahu is calling for a broad “unity government” that would include Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party. “For decades we have not withstood so many challenges at the same time,” said Netanyahu. “To face up to these challenges we need to join hands and unite all the forces within the people. I call on all parties, those who recommended me and those who didn’t. I turn to [Kadima leader Tzipi] Livni and to [Labor leader Ehud] Barak — let us join hands and pledge for the future of Israel. I hope to meet with you first and discuss a wide unity government.”
Livni, however, today said she refuses to serve with Netanyahu. ”Today, the foundations of a right-wing extremist government under Netanyahu were set,” Livni wrote in a text message sent to 80,000 Kadima members. “The path of such a government is not our own and we have nothing to look for there. You didn’t vote for us in order to provide a kosher certificate for a right-wing government, and we need to provide an alternative of hope from the opposition.”
The big question for Netanyahu, however, may not be how best to form his government, but how his government — whatever form it takes — will interact President Barack Obama, given the deep fissures between the two men over how to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed power.
“Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our existence since the War of Independence,” said Netanyahu. “Iran’s terror wings surround us from the north and south” Based on my conversations with Israel’s next Prime Minister, I believe Netanyahu fundamentally understands the apocalyptic, genocidal Islamic eschatology driving Iran’s current leaders. By contrast, I am convinced that President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton do not understand at all the End Times beliefs of the current leaders of Iran, and are thus making wrong policy choices based on their lack of understanding. Let us pray, therefore, that as Mr. Netanyahu forms his government and then meets with President Obama and top U.S. leaders that he is able to help American officials understand who they are dealing with in Tehran, and find a way to work together to stop Iran before it is too late.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Iran holds enough uranium for bomb
- Iran hails military ties with Russia
- Israel: Iran, Syria secretly continuing nuclear projects
- Israel’s Peres: Netanyahu will form new government
- Binyamin Netanyahu to be Israel’s next Prime Minister
- Senior Kadima official hopes for ‘broad’ coalition: “Senior Kadima official Dalia Itzik on Friday said she hoped that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu would forge a ‘broad coalition’ involving her own centrist Kadima party.”
- Gaza militants fire 10 mortar shells, Qassam rocket at Negev
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