New FM Lapid Says Israel Needs to Rethink Relations With 'Angry' Democrats

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Monday.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Monday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Newly sworn-in Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that Israel must change the way it deals with U.S. Democrats, who he said had been abandoned by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The Republicans are important to us, but not just them. We find ourselves, as you well know, facing a Democratic White House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic Congress," Lapid told Israeli diplomats. "And these Democrats are angry."

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Lapid said that he spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday night. "Both of us believe that we need to build our relationship with the [U.S.] government based on mutual respect and on better dialogue," he said.

He added that this is also the case with Diaspora Jewry; "particularly with American Jews, the time has come for change."

Israel's relations with too many of the European Union states, he said, have also been neglected, "and that has become an issue." 

He added, "Shouting that 'everyone is antisemitic' is not a policy and not a work plan, even if sometimes it feels right. I spoke last night with EU Foreign Minister Josep Borell, I was writing to French President Emmanuel Macron – we all think there needs to be a change, an improvement, to deepen the dialogue between Israel and Europe." 

In his conversation with Borrell, Lapid said that "We must prepare together quickly for the possibility of returning to the Iran nuclear deal. Israel will prevent the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon in every way."

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