PM Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Trump and Netanyahu

Netanyahu sees a bright future for collaboration between Israel and the US under the Trump administration, with a focus on rolling back the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he believes US President-elect Donald Trump will be a good friend to Israel, adding his hope that dismantling the Iran nuclear deal will be at the top of the agenda.

“I know Donald Trump,” Netanyahu told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview aired on Sunday. “And I think his attitude, his support for Israel is clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish state, about the Jewish people. There’s no question about that.”

Netanyahu’s remarks may be a response to critics who have accused Trump of tolerating anti-Semitism among some of his supporters.

While the two countries are close allies, relations were sometimes tense between Netanyahu and outgoing President Barack Obama because of their vastly different world views on the Iran deal, among other issues.

Netanyahu conceded in the interview that he “had differences of opinion” with Obama, and the “most well-known, of course, is Iran.”

The Israeli prime minister has been one of the fiercest critics of the nuclear deal. During the 2016 US election campaign, Trump also harshly condemned it.

Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction, and its leaders have called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

Netanyahu said there are “various ways of undoing” the 2015 deal, in which Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on its oil industry and finances.

“I have about five things in my mind,” Netanyahu said, declining to go into further detail.

Trump: If I Get Elected, Israel ‘Will be Just Fine’

“Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That has not changed and will not change,” Netanyahu said in a satellite address to the 13th Annual Saban Forum last Sunday.

Netanyahu opposes the Iran nuclear deal because “it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting nukes, it paves the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons.”

He also noted that Iran is developing a ballistic missile program that could potentially threaten the US.

“The Iranians are developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). And for those who forget, Israel and Iran are in the same continent, we’re in the same neighborhood. They’re not developing these ICBMs for us, they’re developing it for you, for America,” he warned.

“I look forward to discussing with the new administration how we can continue to work together to strengthen Israel and confront the common threats that face both of us, and also seize common opportunities that have developed because of these common threats,” the Israeli leader said.

During his campaign, Trump criticized Obama for being, as he worded it, a bad negotiator, pointing to the nuclear accord with Iran that the outgoing president had negotiated. The deal with Iran “is going to destroy Israel— unless I get elected. Then Israel will be just fine,” Trump stated.

Trump has repeatedly vowed that if elected, he will modify, renegotiate or completely rescind the nuclear deal.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff

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