Photo Credit: Flash 90
PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US Pres. Barack Obama in November 2015.

Despite their disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. and Israel “can and should work together now” to ensure that Iran complies with the agreement and to curb Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in Washington.

A day after meeting with President Obama at the White House, Netanyahu told the JFNA delegates, “You work tirelessly to strengthen Jewish identity…you are my partners in building the Jewish future.”


He said the Jewish community should “always remember two simple truths.”

First, that regardless of any disagreements between Israel and the U.S., “Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.”

Second, mirroring JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman’s call a day earlier for post-Iran deal unity, Netanyahu said, “No matter what disagreements there have been within the Jewish community, maintaining the unity of our people is of paramount importance…we must work together to unite the Jewish people and secure the Jewish state.”

Regarding U.S. military aid to Israel, amid reports that Israel is seeking an increase in annual aid from $3 billion to $5 billion, the prime minister said he had a “wonderful discussion with President Obama [at the White House] on how to secure that assistance for the coming decade.”

“Thank you, America,” he said.

Netanyahu noted the importance of Obama’s commitment to bolstering Israel’s qualitative military edge, so that Israel can defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

Commenting on Israel’s values, the prime minister said, “I know that all of you are proud of Israel’s outstanding technological achievements, but I think we should no less be proud of Israel’s values.” Netanyahu cited such specifics as passionate speeches in the Knesset, spirited debate in the Israeli media, the presence of an Arab justice on the Israeli Supreme Court, and the fact that Israel has the only Christian population in the Middle East that is growing and thriving,

“This is democracy. This is intense, robust democracy,” Netanyahu said, adding, “What is truly remarkable is that Israel upholds these values in the darkest and most oppressive region on Earth.”

Speaking on the convergence of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, Netanyahu said the lies once leveled at the Jewish people – such as that Jews are “poisoners of wells, spreaders of plagues, killers of children” – are “now leveled at the Jewish state.”

“Today we have a voice, and we must ensure that our voice is heard loud and clear. We must speak out against the slander of the Jewish people and the Jewish state….The only way we fight lies is telling the truth,” he said.

On Monday at the White House, Netanyahu and Obama met for the first time in more than a year in a bid to put aside past differences over Iran’s nuclear program and advance peace in the region.

“This is going to be an opportunity for the prime minister and myself to engage in a wide-ranging discussion on some of the most pressing security issues that both our countries face,” Obama said before the meeting. “It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas, and as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities. And that’s expressed itself not only in words but in deeds.”

A day before the White House meeting, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro told in an interview on the JFNA General Assembly’s “Press Stage” that the meeting marked the latest chapter “in a relationship that obviously goes through certain phases and certain cycles, the fundamentals of which, the bedrock and the basis of which, really has never changed, and that’s a positive thing.”


Previous articleAeroflot Adding Flights on Russia-Israel Route
Next articleRedeeming Relevance: Serious Laughter