March 21, 2023

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Saudi-Iran deal is a fatal blow to Israel, says ex-Israel PM

TEHRAN – Former prime minister Naftali Bennett on Friday harshly criticized the restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, saying it represented the failure of Israeli efforts to create a regional alliance against Tehran.

“The renewal of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a serious and dangerous development for Israel and is a political victory for Iran. This a fatal blow to the effort to build a regional coalition against Iran,” Bennett tweeted.

“This is a resounding failure of the Netanyahu government and is the result of a combination of diplomatic neglect, general weakness and internal conflict in the country,” said Bennett, according to The Times of Israel.

“Countries in the world and region see Israel divided with a non-functional government, focused on serial self-destruction. And then those countries chose a side,” said Bennett, referring to the widespread protests and turmoil in Israel against the government’s agenda, which critics say is aimed at installing an authoritarian regime.

“The Netanyahu government is a resounding economic, diplomatic and security failure, end every day it goes on endangers the state of Israel. We are in need of a broad national emergency government that will work to undo the many damages that have been done,” Bennett said.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid also slammed the agreement as “a complete failure” for Israel, calling it “a collapse of our regional defensive walls that we had been building against Iran.”

“This is what happens when you are focused on the judicial madness instead of doing the work against Iran and strengthening ties with U.S.,” Lapid said.

Their comments come after regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on Friday to restore ties and reopen diplomatic missions in Chinese-brokered talks seven years after relations were severed.

The deal comes even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken in recent days of his hopes of reaching a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

Even MKs in Netanyahu’s Likud party voiced veiled criticism.

“The world does not stop while we are focused on power struggles and head-butting, especially not the worst of our enemies,” said veteran Likud MK Yuli Edelstein.

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