Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday granted a pre-election interview to Channel 2 in which he spoke more tough than ever on Iran, and firmly positioned himself as the "security" candidate ahead of the January 22 poll.
Asked about Israel's perceived reluctance to take military action against Iran's defiant nuclear program without American consent, Netanyahu made clear that he was prepared to act without anyone's permission.
"When former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel, was it with the consent of the Americans? When former Prime Minister Menachem Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, was that with the consent of the Americans?" asked Netanyahu.
Netanyahu insisted that the Jewish nation's days of pleading for its survival were over. "When we didn’t have a state, when we didn’t have an army, and when someone threatened to destroy us and then actually annihilated us, we went and pleaded with others. Today we don’t plead, we prepare."
The interviewer pressed Netanyahu on whether or not he was endangering Israel by going down such a dangerous path, a line of thinking that has characterized the election campaign of his political opponents.
Netanyahu responded by reiterating what he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been saying for months - that launching a preemptive strike against a non-nuclear Iran will be far less dangerous than dealing with a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic.
"We can’t afford to put our heads in the sand," said the prime minister. "There is no doubt about Iran’s intention to destroy Israel. It’s not a bluff. If there is no other way to stop Iran, Israel is prepared to act."