Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opening the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday, touted his government’s diplomatic achievements at last week’s U.N. General Assembly session.
“If they talked about a diplomatic tsunami, I’m telling you that there is a diplomatic tsunami,” said Netanyahu, in an apparent jab at former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who in 2011 warned that Israel would be washed away by a “diplomatic tsunami” that would be unleashed by the Palestinians at the U.N.
“It was a very successful state visit, which allowed us to strengthen existing ties with countries known [to have ties with Israel], and also develop emerging relationships with many other countries, which are not widely known. I met with nearly 20 leaders of countries from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean,” Netanyahu said.
“There were more requests for meetings than the schedule allowed for,” claimed the premier, adding that the leaders of Germany, Ukraine, Turkey and South Korea all expressed a “great desire for increasing cooperation with the State of Israel.
During meetings on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly general debate, the presidents of the Republic of Congo and Paraguay announced their intentions to open, or reopen, embassies in Jerusalem, which the Israeli prime minister said attests to the Jewish state’s “strong position in the international arena.”
Netanyahu on Wednesday also touched on his “very important” sit-down with U.S. President Joe Biden, which he said lasted longer than initially planned.
“A very good and friendly conversation between two people who have known each other for many years, and the focus was, of course, on expanding the circle of peace toward an agreement with Saudi Arabia.
“We’re seeing things that were inconceivable a few years ago: Yesterday, an Israeli minister, our colleague [Tourism Minister] Haim Katz, landed in Saudi Arabia, and soon there will be more visits,” said Netanyahu.
He praised Israel’s friends, led by the United States, for helping it “bypass the Palestinian veto” on peace with the Arab world.
“I spoke in my speech at the United Nations about the curse and the blessing, about the great opportunities before us, and also about the difficult challenges we’re facing,” continued the prime minister, expressing his conviction that his government chose the blessing.
“This, of course, requires us to make an effort to reduce the friction within us and increase the unity within us. That is what I wish for us in the new [Hebrew] year, and I wish you all G’mar chatimah tovah [‘May you be inscribed (in the proverbial Book of Life) for Good’],” Netanyahu said.