November 16, 2021
The United States special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, arrived in Israel on Sunday as part of a 10-day regional trip.
Malley is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, director of the Mossad spy agency David Barnea, and National Security Adviser Eyal Haluta.
However, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett refused to meet him due to the recent US efforts to revive the nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers.
According to political sources in Tel Aviv, Israel has deep differences with President Joe Biden’s administration, mainly on Iran.
Other sources claimed Bennet considers Malley spearheading the diplomatic option in dealing with Iran.
Several ministers slammed Bennet’s decision, however a spokesman affirmed that the protocol doesn’t require a meeting between both senior figures.
Israel prefers to keep the military option on the table when it comes to the nuclear talks because Iran is not serious about negotiations with the major powers, sources close to Bennett said.
However, they underlined the distinguished coordination between both countries’ security departments, referring to the recent US-Israeli drills to simulate scenarios of confrontation with Iran.
The sources also pointed out that Bennett and Gantz ordered the Israeli army to intensify preparations for a military attack, mainly against Iran.
The government has allocated a special budget for this purpose before approving the state budget, they added, noting that the army seeks to improve the capabilities of the Air Force, the Military Intelligence Division and other military apparatuses.