Bennett said: Iran ‘regime of executioners’ can’t get the bomb

“A regime of executioners cannot have weapons of mass destruction,” the prime minister stated.

The results of Iran’s presidential election show the world must act to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the opening of his government’s first Sunday cabinet meeting.

Bennett commented on Ebrahim Raisi, a judge responsible for tens of thousands of executions who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses, being elected president of Iran on Saturday, as the sixth round of indirect talks between Washington and Tehran to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal comes to an end in Vienna.

“Raisi’s election as president of Iran is a signal to world powers that they need to wake up,” Bennett said. “This may be the last signal a moment before returning to the Iran Deal. They must understand who they’re doing business with and what kind of regime they are choosing to strengthen. 

“A regime of executioners cannot have weapons of mass destruction,” the prime minister stated.

Bennett also commented on the Israeli political situation, saying that the key to success in a unity government is mutual trust through open lines of communication to solve problems: “quietly, without drama.”

“We are here to serve the people… We are not the bosses of the citizens of Israel, we work for them. That is the spirit among all members of the government,” Bennett stated.

The cabinet also authorized regulations for the government’s work, which include the order for cabinet meetings, discussions and decision-making promises.

This is a standard decision for any new government – as mandated by Basic Law: Government – but the previous one, led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Defense Minister Benny Gantz serving as alternate prime minister, never did so.

Bennett said the new government’s ministers are “full of willingness to act and make progress.”

MARKING THE ninth anniversary of the death of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Bennett pointed out that Shamir presided over a government comprised of right-wing and left-wing parties.

“By all accounts, Yitzhak Shamir was distinctly right-wing,” Bennett remarked. “There is a time for everything. This is a time for unity, and unity is itself a critical goal… The public knows our ability to work together will allow us to do good things. We will be inspired by Yitzhak Shamir.”

In addition, Bennett plans to assess the impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19 on Israel and the two coronavirus breakouts in schools in Modi’in and Binyamina.

“This came from people returning from abroad not strictly keeping to quarantines – and professionals have assessed, though it is still not certain, that this is the Indian variant,” Bennett said. “Last night we held a brief meeting and today we will hold a meeting with relevant ministers, professionals and the National Security Council to assess the situation in relation to the Indian variant and the way people enter and leave the country, and we will update the public.”

Bennett said Israel’s strategy cannot only depend on vaccines.

“If there’s a variant that circumvents vaccines tomorrow, everything will collapse,” he said. “We have vaccines but are also working on the assumption that there will not be a vaccine for every pandemic or variant. We need, with correct management, to avoid losing control.”

The cabinet voted in favor of 36 professional appointments of ambassadors and consuls-general to be posted around the world.

Earlier Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Foreign Service Appointments approved the diplomats for the top positions in Thailand, Sweden, the Vatican, Senegal, Panama, EU institutions in Brussels, Japan and more.

The diplomatic appointments had been delayed by six months in the previous government, and were the subject of a lawsuit earlier this month.

Bennett said that “this is something that was stuck for a long time,” and that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “opened up the traffic jam – and we are on our way.”

“The appointments we authorized today waited too long,” Lapid said. “The State of Israel needs the best people to fight for its good name in the world. These are some of the best professionals in Israel who are a significant and critical part of strengthening Israel’s diplomatic and security status.”