Israel’s new prime minister told the United Nations Monday that the world’s countries face a moral choice between “darkness and light” as he contrasted the ideals of Israel and its allies with those of its enemies, including Iran.
The “modern world as we know it,” he said, is at stake.
Naftali Bennett, who was sworn in as the nation’s new prime minister this summer, made the remarks during a U.N. address in which he issued a warning about Iran’s nuclear programs and terrorism regime. He also urged the world not to support efforts such as the 2009 Durbin Review Conference, which was promoted as an anti-racism conference but was boycotted by the U.S. and others for promoting anti-Semitism.
“To those countries who chose to participate in this farce, I say: Attacking Israel doesn’t make you morally superior,” he said. “Fighting the only democracy in the Middle East doesn’t make you woke. Adopting cliches about Israel without bothering to learn the basic facts, well, that’s just plain lazy.
“Every member state in this building has a choice. It’s not a political choice but a moral one. It’s a choice between darkness and light.”
This darkness, propagated by Iran, “persecutes political prisoners, murders the innocent, abuses women and minorities, and seeks to end the modern world as we know it,” Bennett said.
The light, he added, “pursues freedom, prosperity and opportunity.”
Israel, Bennett said, doesn’t have the “privilege” of ignoring threats to democracy.
“Israel is, quite literally, surrounded by Hezbollah, Shia militias, Islamic Jihad and Hamas — on our borders,” he said. “These terror groups seek to dominate the Middle East and spread radical Islam across the world.
“What do they all have in common?” he asked. “They all want to destroy my country. And they’re all backed by Iran.”
Bennett warned of a new terrorism capacity by Iran that seeks to fill the skies with thousands of deadly drones. The Iranian operation is called “Shahed 136.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear program, Bennett said, has made a “major leap forward” and has “hit a watershed moment.”
“And so has our tolerance,” he said. “Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning.”
Still, he said, there are “rays of hope” in the Middle East, such as the 2020 signing of the Abraham Accords with several neighboring nations.
“Israel is a nation of great hope, a nation that has brought the heritage of the Torah to life in modern-day Israel, a nation of an unbreakable spirit,” he said. “A bit of light dispels much darkness. The lighthouse among the stormy seas — stands tall, stands strong. And her light shines brighter than ever.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.