Jerusalem, 5 July, 2022 (TPS) — Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday afternoon at the Elysee Palace in Paris. In public remarks, Lapid spoke largely about the continuing threat posed to world security by Iran.
Lapid opened his remarks with a thank you adding, “It is a true pleasure for me that my first official visit as Prime Minister of Israel is to a country that is a close friend — and with a President who is a close friend.”
“I thank you for the warm welcome, for your support and friendship over the years. And I thank you for your firm stance against antisemitism in France and around the world,” he said.
“France has taught the world that liberté and égalité cannot exist without fraternité,” said Lapid. “Our friendship is based on values and on the understanding that values are worth fighting for.”
Referring to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the terrorism from Iran, Lapid said that the world is “reminded that not only does democracy protect us, but we must also protect democracy.”
Lapid added that this means that sometimes there is no choice but to use the force of war to protect the peace.
“Israel and France are more than just friends — we are strategic partners,” said the Prime Minister. “We have a host of economic and defense collaborations, and together we are determined to expand and develop them, especially in the technological spheres.”
Then Lapid turned to the issue of Iran while calling France a leading country in Europe, and reminding President Macron that in 2018 he was the first to say that the world needed a new nuclear deal with Iran. One that is more efficient and better defined, with no expiration date, and with coordinated international pressure that would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
“You were right then, and you are even more right today,” Lapid told President Macron.
As for the two countries’ positions on a nuclear deal with Iran, Lapid said that their nations “may have disagreements about the content of the agreement, but we do not disagree on the facts. The facts are that Iran is violating the agreement and continues to develop its nuclear program.”
Lapid accused Iran of hiding information about how it is enriching uranium beyond the level allowed by international agreements and that it removed cameras placed by monitoring agencies from its nuclear sites.
“Given all this” he declared, “the world must respond. The current situation cannot continue as it is.”
Lapid said that it will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would threaten world peace, declaring that world nations must all work together to stop that from happening.
Lapid also mentioned how Iran is responsible for the promotion of terrorism around the world commenting, “Any place that terrorism is found, Iran is never far away.”
He mentioned how just recently the Turkish government exposed Iranian cells that planned to murder innocent Israeli tourists in Istanbul. Lapid also mentioned that a few days ago, Iranian-made UAVs tried to attack an Israeli gas rig near the Lebanese coast.
“These UAVs were sent by Hezbollah,” he explained, “a terrorist organization that threatens Lebanon’s stability, violates its sovereignty, pushes it towards a dangerous escalation with Israel, and harms the national interests of Lebanon — a country I know is dear to your heart.”
“Hezbollah has more than one hundred thousand rockets in Lebanon, aimed at Israel. It tries to attack us with Iranian rockets and UAVs. Israel will not sit back and do nothing, given these repeated attacks.”
The Israeli Prime Minister then closed his remarks with a positive note about how both Israel and France are “strengthening entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, and the ability of young people to break boundaries.”