The Middle East would fall into the hands of either Sunni or Shia extremists if Israel were not in the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a delegation of Arab journalists on Tuesday.
Netanyahu spoke of this meeting during comments he made with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry before their meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office, saying that he had just come from meeting the delegation of journalists, which include a blogger from Saudi Arabia and a journalist from Iraq.
Netanyahu said he told them there is an irreplaceable alliance between Israel and the United States, “but within the region, Israel is the irreplaceable power, because there is no other power in the region that without its presence and activity here, I would say the region would collapse.”
“Without Isarel,” Netanyahu continued, “without the things we do, the things we stand for and the things we protect, I think the entire Middle East would collapse by the forces of Islamic radicalism, whether Shiite led by Iran, or Sunni radicalism led by Islamic State.”
Israel, he said, “is the one indigenous force in the Middle East that prevents the collapse of the Middle East.”
Netanyahu said it was “very important” to see Arab journalists “who recognize the role Israel plays in their own future, security and development.”
The prime minister said that the journalists told him that many in the Arab world “want to have peace with Israel, normalization with Israel, and want to come to Israel. They are not always free to express it, and there is always opposition from those who want to take us back, but they expressed that desire.”
Read more: The Jerusalem Post