In addition to stirring up controversy for raising the specter of a “two-state” solution at the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid dedicated a central part of his UNGA address to the threat from Iran.
There are two major threats hanging over Israel’s head, he told the international assembly.
“The first is the nuclear threat – the fear that terrorist states and terrorist organizations will get their hands on nuclear weapons. The second threat is the demise of truth,” he said.
“There is no country that has come under a greater attack of lies, with such a vast amount of money and effort being invested in spreading disinformation about it,” Lapid said, claiming that Iran is “conducting this orchestra of hate” and adding “they even hate their own people.”
“Iran’s regime hates Jews, hates women, hates gay people, hates the West. They hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini. Their hate is a way of life,” he added.
Rushdie was the author of a controversial book for which Iran issued a fatwa for his head; Amini was a 22-year-old girl beaten to death by Iran’s religious police in recent days for not wearing a hijab, or head covering, according to the Islamic Republic’s requirements.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Lapid, both for his unnecessary elevation of Palestinian statehood into the international forum and for “falling asleep for over a year” on the Iran nuclear threat.
“As opposed to us,” he said, “Lapid did not fight Iran in the U.S. Congress, U.S. media, U.S. Senate. He has done nothing.”
Nevertheless, on Thursday, Lapid also criticized U.N. member states for remaining silent while Iran states openly that it is interested in the “total destruction” of the State of Israel.
“What are you afraid of? Has there ever been a time in human history where silence stopped violence?” Lapid asked the General Assembly.
The Israeli premier warned that if the Iranian regime gets a nuclear weapon, it will use it and that “the only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to put a credible military threat on the table. And then – and only then – to negotiate a longer and stronger deal with them.”
“It needs to be made clear to Iran that, if it advances its nuclear program, the world will not respond with words but with military force. Every time a threat like that was put on the table in the past, Iran stopped and retreated,” he said.
Lapid lamented that today, “the world is choosing the easy option. It chooses not to believe the worst, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Israel does not have this privilege.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.