Israeli opposition leader and head of the Zionist Camp Isaac Herzog outlined his security and diplomatic agenda today, promising he will promote strong ties with the United States and resume negotiations with the Palestinians if elected prime minister. While Israel is no enemy of the Iranian people, he told a security conference in Munich, Iran’s extremist regime must never be allowed to get nuclear weapons.
In a late interview with Israel’s Channel 10, he also accused Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of “trampling” Israel-US ties by going ahead with his controversial March 3 speech to Congress, urged Netanyahu to cancel, and said the prime minister’s “cynical political game” was also tearing US Jewry apart, noting that ADL chief Abe Foxman has urged Netanyahu to call off the trip.
Herzog, who also heads the Labor Party, outlined part of his platform at the security conference in Munich attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, and had informal meetings with both. Tellingly, Kerry, Biden and President Barack Obama have all made clear they will not meet with Netanyahu when he flies to the US to address Congress next month, with Obama and Kerry citing the visit’s proximity to the March 17 elections, and Biden’s office saying he’ll be abroad.
“The definition of true national security, as I see it, requires much more than just guns, essential as they are,” Herzog said in his Munich address. “It also requires a strong economy, a strong society and strong alliances, like the strategic alliance Israel has with the United States of America.
“The art of diplomacy is not in speeches but in intense, intimate coordination with allies who share the same basic interests,” he said.
The center-left candidate stressed the importance of finding an international solution to preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon, provided that such a solution would “ensure that Iran will never develop a nuclear bomb.”
“We must focus on the concrete parameters of the agreement while keeping all options on the table and deterring Iran from any encroachment.”
“If Iran wants to live in peace, the Iranian people will not find Israel their enemy,” Herzog stated. “But we will not allow an extremist regime to develop nuclear weapons and we spare no effort to stop it.”
Read more: The Times of Israel