The Candidates

WATCH: ISIS and Iran: Netanyahu's Intelligence Minister Explains Why Likud Is Campaigning on 'Existential Threats'

Yuval Steinitz says military option is still on table: When it comes to Israel's national security, nobody can tie our hands – not even the U.S.

Scroll down for the full interview.

Without Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran would have gotten a much better deal – or nuclear weapons, Israel's intelligence minister tells Haaretz in this interview.

Speaking to Aimee Amiga in the lead-up to the prime minister's speech to the U.S. Congress, Yuval Steinitz said Israel does not oppose to any deal regarding Iran's nuclear program, but would "like to endorse a deal."

When asked whether Israel would use military force if the world leaders reach what it considers a "bad deal" with Iran, Steinitz said the military option is still on the table. "When we are speaking about Israel's national security, nobody can tie our hands." He suggested that use of Israeli force might not necessarily require American support: "In the past when Israel was under direct threat, Israel did decide what to do, although the United States and the world had some reservations."

Watch the full interview here:


The interview also looked at a Likud party campaign video that shows Islamic State militants heading for Jerusalem. Steinitz acknowledged that ISIS does not "currently" pose a "big" threat to Israel. When asked whether the video could thus be perceived as fear-mongering, he said the video intended to convey that if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank and East Jerusalem "as [Isaac] Herzog and [Tzipi] Livni were already prepared" to do, the "vacuum" there would "immediately be captured by some kind of jihadist group."

Finally, when asked how he went from being an activist for Peace Now to serving in the Likud party as a senior minister in the Netanyahu government, Steinitz said that he did support negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, but after the Oslo Accords, he reexamined his position and beliefs, and understood these were not "peace agreements, but, unfortunately, war agreements."

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Hummus or tehina? Beer or wine? Click here to discover the person behind the persona of Yuval Steinitz.