In his first public remarks about the “sweeping victory” in passage of a standalone bill to provide $1 billion for the nation’s anti-missile aerial defense system, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said “At the moment of truth, we saw the representatives of the American people overwhelmingly support Israel, 420 to 9, in the vote on rearming Iron Dome.”
By Erin Viner
“There is a small anti-Israeli group that makes a lot of noise – but these people failed,” said Bennett in response to efforts by radical members of the Democratic party led by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to defeat the measure after having it removed from a broader spending bill earlier in the week.
Later today, the Israeli Premier will address the United Nations General Assembly in his debut appearance before the world body as leader of the Jewish State.
“This is an important international stage and I am very pleased for the opportunity to bring the voice of Israel, of Israelis, to this important stage. This will be an opportunity to tell our story, about Israel’s place in the world and about the special spirit of Israelis and our contribution to the world,” said Prime Minister Bennett on the tarmac of Ben Gurion International Airport just ahead of his departure for New York.
Bennett’s UNGA address is expected to largely focus on the threat Iran poses to world stability, as well as the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He will reportedly underscore the defense of the State of Israel against impartial judgement by the international community – including world bodies such as the UN.
“We do not define ourselves according to others, not according to Iran and not the Palestinians. I suggest that their leaders deal with their people, in improving their situation, and stop this obsession with the State of Israel,” he said.
Following his speech, Prime Minister Bennett will meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Immediately after his arrival at UN headquarters yesterday, the Israeli leader met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry Khalifa Shaheen Almarar. The talks marked Bennett’s first meetings with Gulf leaders since taking office in June.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser, “the three noted that the anniversary of the Abraham Accords occurs this month” and that the Israeli Premier said that his government “aspires to tighten and strengthen relations with the UAE and Bahrain in all fields and added that he hopes that additional countries in the region will join the circle of peace.”
Prime Minister Bennett added that Jordanian King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi expressed ‘delight’ over the ensuing relationship between Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi and Manama during his summits with both leaders.
In an assurance of “continuity,” Bennett said his government is “stable and we believe in this relationship, and we want to expand it as much as possible.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who visited Dubai in June, is expected to travel to Bahrain soon.
Prior to leaving the United States, Bennett is also slated to hold talks with Washington’s UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and the heads of Jewish organizations. He is slated to return to return home Wednesday evening local time.