How Netanyahu’s Speech Played in Israel and among Arabs

By JTA. In America, pundits and politicians are wondering what Netanyahu’s speech will mean for the next few months, years, even decades of US-Israel and US-Iranian relations.

In Israel, everyone is focused on the next two weeks.

Since the speech was announced in January, Netanyahu’s critics have accused him of using the US Capitol stage to boost his polls ahead of Israel’s March 17 election. Supporters say his only intention is to defend his country from a looming threat . . .

“There’s no doubt that the pictures of Congress giving a standing ovation can have a positive influence on the voters,” said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. “Israelis understand that the criticism of him was political. Israelis understand that Israel-US relations are strong.”

In Israel’s newspapers, responses to the speech, as always, fell along ideological lines. At the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, under the headline “The speech of a historic moment,” wrote that Netanyahu succeeded in transcending politics, as “there are moments in which a leader does what he does not for votes, but for the children … There are moments in history that a leader makes happen.” (Read more about how the speech played in Israel HERE)


Arab Commentators Back Netanyahu On Speech to Congress

By Yochanan Visser. On the eve of the Purim festival, Israel watched Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu deliver a historical speech to the U.S. Congress on Iran. The speech was broadcasted on all Israeli TV Channels, albeit with a five-minute delay to make sure there was no ‘electioneering’ in what Netanyahu told Congress. Israel will hold elections in another two weeks.

In his speech, Netanyahu evoked the upcoming Purim festival, when the book of Ester is read and Jews commemorate the first attempt to commit genocide on the Jewish people by the Persian King Ahasueres (Ahasveros), who acted on the advice of his personal advisor Haman. Netanyahu compared this attempt to annihilate the Jewish people to the vows to destroy the Jewish state made by contemporary Iranian leaders.

Netanyahu said that “even if Israel has to stand alone – Israel will stand.”

Right after Netanyahu’s speech, commentators on Israeli TV highlighted the Arab and Iranian response to the event.

Tzvi Yechezkieli, the Arab affairs expert of Channel 10, said that many Arab commentators supported the content of Netanyahu’s speech. He cited a commentator on Al-Arabiya TV, who had said that he could have written a large part of the speech.

Yechezkieli said that the Arab countries are convinced that Obama will not safeguard their security interests in the current negotiations with Iran and will not protect them against Iranian aggression. (Read more from this story HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.