An Ultra-Orthodox woman pulls a suitcase in front of large campaign billboards for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud Party leader in Bnei Brak, Israel, January 15, 2013, ahead of the January 22 general election in Israel. The billboard shows Netanyahu speaking at the United Nations and reads in Hebrew "I Need You For A Strong Israel." UPI/Debbie Hill. | License Photo
JERUSALEM, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A week before general elections in Israel, senior Likud party officials accused U.S. President Barack Obama of meddling and "gross interference."
The criticism was in response to comments allegedly made by Obama concerning Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, published Tuesday.
The Jerusalem Post said Obama accused Netanyahu of leading Israel "down the path toward near isolation." The columnist also said Obama viewed Netanyahu as a political coward, unwilling to lead or spend political capital to advance the cause of compromise, the Post said.
While sources close to Netanyahu insisted the Israeli leader was protecting the country's vital national security interests, Likud party officials accused the U.S. president of "gross interference."
"This is gossip a journalist wrote, and the facts suggest that the opposite is true," Gilad Erdan, environmental protection minister and Likud party member, told the newspaper.
Danny Danon, a Likud Party Knesset member, said while American Jews have their right to an opinion on Israel, such comments will only serve to "give us more seats."