Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a few things to say about his being ousted, and about several other topics on his mind – including President Joe Biden’s plan to restart nuclear talks with Iran.
His words come in the wake of the G7 meetings in the U.K. over the weekend and point to the mindset of someone who isn’t planning to shrink from the political spotlight anytime soon.
The speech was delivered to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Sunday.
Netanyahu, 71, was pushed to the side by the new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett. A narrow 60-59 vote put Bennett in the prime minister chair, a move upon which Biden quickly congratulated Bennett, whose office said the two spoke cordially by phone later.
But Netanyahu doesn’t believe Bennett has the chops to handle the job.
Netanyahu said Iran is “celebrating” his loss because “they understand that starting today there will be a weak and unstable government that will align with the dictates of the international community.”
“The prime minister of Israel needs to be able to say no to the president of the United States on issues that threaten our existence,” Netanyahu said, even though the Times of Israel reported that Bennett has also said he opposes a U.S. return to the Iran nuclear compact.
In May, after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended a deadly 11-day conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and Blinken held a press conference during which Netanyahu said: “I can tell you that I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with Iran) because we believe that that deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”