Israeli officials in Jerusalem told Army Radio on Thursday that a report in Bloomberg highlighting the rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the vaunted intelligence agency Mossad over Iran sanctions was “the Obama administration’s revenge” over the Republican-controlled Congress’ invitation to the premier to speak before a joint session without consulting the White House.
According to the report, officials from Mossad have lobbied Congressional and administration officials to refrain from imposing new sanctions against Iran for fear that it would lead to a collapse of the Western powers’ talks with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.
The White House expressed anger over the invite extended to Netanyahu, calling it “a departure from protocol.”
Tzachi Hanegbi, the deputy foreign minister and a Netanyahu ally from the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio that the invite extended to Netanyahu was an attempt by the Republicans to embarrass President Barack Obama.
“There’s tremendous tension between Congress and the administration, and that’s nothing new,” Hanegbi said. “The new Congress was elected just a few weeks ago. There’s been a change in control.”
“Now the Republicans are the majority,” Hanegbi said. “They’re happy about this, and they will look to be a thorn in the president’s side in the remaining two years of his term, while the president will ignore them and continue to implement the policy in which he believes as much as he can.”
“Israel has no interest in being involved in these matters,” Hanegbi said.