"Those who use violence and terror draw confidence from statements and voting patterns of countries around the world," Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday at a special briefing to some 30 diplomats stationed in Israel ahead of the expected UN vote against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"The fact that countries vote against recognizing Jerusalem is seen by terrorists as a sign their violent struggle against Israel is successful. Your nations' calls against the declaration encourage the terror groups," said Bennett, the leader of the right wing Bayit Yehudi party and also serves in Israel's security cabinet.
"Every statement against Jerusalem as Israel's capital encourages Hamas and other terror groups and gives them the feeling their actions are justified."
When asked about the meaning of the scheduled vote, the minister stressed that Jerusalem was the eternal capital of the Jewish People, saying no decision could change this simple reality.
"What happens if the UN votes against Jerusalem as Israel's capital? Nothing. As usual. Another empty vote by the UN," Bennett said. "President Trump's statement did not create a new reality, it didn't change facts on the ground. The President spoke truth to the Palestinians. There can never be peace predicated on the division of Jerusalem. It won't happen. Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years, and now truth is spoken out loud."
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman downplayed the importance of the vote, speculating that "if Algeria would draft a resolution saying the Earth was flat and Israel flattened it, it would pass 164 for, 13 against and 26 abstentions."
"It is good that the US is a beacon of morality shining from the darkness," said Liberman.
Thursday's vote will have no binding impact, but is being watched carefully because of Trump's threat to take retaliatory measures by cutting aid against countries who vote against it.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the United Nations a “House of Lies,” and said that “Israel completely rejects the vote even before it takes place.”
“Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build it, and the embassies of countries – first that of the United States – will move to Jerusalem,” he declared. “This will happen.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report