Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the United Nations in New York on Monday, telling the world’s leaders Iran has crossed all redlines regarding its nuclear program, and vowing Israel would not allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
During his first speech to the UN, Bennett warned that Iran is seeking to dominate the Middle East through a nuclear umbrella of power. “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” Bennett said. “Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Bennett has sought to take a more diplomatic approach than his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, but when it comes to Iran, he has followed the same hardline response. “They’re getting away with it,” he warned, as the international community fails to act.
“Iran’s great goal is crystal clear to anybody who cares to open their eyes: Iran seeks to dominate the region — and seeks to do so under a nuclear umbrella.” Meanwhile, he continued, Iran supports the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas in its declared campaign to destroy Israel.
“They all want to destroy my country. And they’re all backed by Iran. They get their funding from Iran, they get their training from Iran, and they get their weapons from Iran, Bennett emphasized.
Outside of Iran’s connections with groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Bennett avoided discussion of the Palestinians. The singular focus on Iran appears to be taking priority above other political discussions, as Bennett seeks additional support from the international community.
The question is whether the call for unity against Iran will find any takers. In some ways, not much has changed in the UN since former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu first spoke of the redline of Iran’s nuclear development years ago. Instead, Israel may once again be left to defend itself, as Bennett hinted in his speech.
Following Bennett’s speech, he met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. A spokesman for Guterres said, “Prime Minister Bennett updated the secretary-general on the situation in Israel. They exchanged views on regional developments, including the Middle East Peace Process.”
Interestingly, no peace process was directly mentioned in Bennett’s speech. However, prior to the meeting, Bennett noted he expects more to come of the Abraham Accords in the days ahead. As Bennett concluded in his speech regarding Israel, “The lighthouse among the stormy seas stands tall, stands strong. And her light shines brighter than ever.”