Speaking in Tel Aviv, the former prime minister accuses Netanyahu of biting the American hand that feeds Israel, as well as ignoring critical needs and instead making extravagant military purchases.
ed note–for a better understanding of the reason why there is the APPEARANCE of conflict within the prganized Jewish community, please read this–
Obama has been a true friend to Israel, Olmert said, and Netanyahu has jeopardized the relationship. Photo by AP
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday again attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over both his behavior toward U.S. President Barack Obama and the economic woes facing Israel.
“I don’t know who the prime minister will be in another four years, but I absolutely know who will be the president of the United States for the next for years,” Olmert said at a meeting of the Israeli Friends of the University of Haifa, held in Tel Aviv on Thursday. “I ask you, Israeli citizens, is that in our interest? To get into a confrontation with the strongman?”
The U.S. president, Olmert told the group, had been a steadfast friend of Israel.
“At a time of disagreement with us, when the U.S. defense budget is being cut, [Obama] supports the Iron Dome,” he said. Referencing the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, Olmert said that Israel was in a grave situation. “I have never heard a [U.S.] president talk about fear of Israel’s survival because of its own policies. And all that because of refusal in the political sphere,” he said.
Come January 22, Olmert said, there is going to be a lot of clean-up to do.
“I don’t know what the election results will be but I do know that if the government of Israel continues its political manipulation to guarantee its survival, it won’t work. We should remember these things. Afterward, after the election, we will need a great deal of effort to repair the damage.”
Continuing, Olmert said, “This government has, for the past four years, refused peace. It did everything possible to aggravate the moderate, peace-loving sector of the Palestinian leadership and created a situation where the extremists are encouraged, perhaps so that they can say later that there is no one to talk to. But it isn’t only against our partners in dialogue, it’s also against our best friends.”
Olmert went on to attack Netanyahu’s economic policy of the last four years, arguing that it was the nation’s shaky economic situation that compelled the prime minister to call early elections.
“Israel’s budget deficit is double the target that was set, and that’s the reason for the election. There was a stable coalition, but Israel’s prime minister knew what they tried to conceal from the public – that the budget must respond to the colossal failure, a failure that has no precedent in Israeli economic management. And that response will, in the end, come at the expense of voters.”
Israel’s defense budget, Olmert said, is nearly 120 percent of its approved amount. “Do the math,” he said. “See how great the overrun is.”
Governmental funds, he continued, were not put toward non-critical needs. Olmert specifically assailed the purchase military equipment, including NIS 10 million for armored vehicles that he deemed unnecessary.
“Anyone who dares to say that most of the spending was on infrastructure needs for the future isn’t telling the truth,” he said. “The State of Israel has to return to its dimensions. It’s time to stop making pretensions, to stop violating the common position of the majority of the world, and acting against our closest, most genuine friends.”