Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday accused Benjamin Netanyahu of straining the country’s relations with the new Biden administration in the United States by affiliating way too much with the Republican Party and promised to disengage the country from US domestic politics if he wins in the May election.

Lapid, who according to the polls has the best chance to unseat Netanyahu among all contenders for the prime minister position, lashed out at the incumbent prime minister for initiating an open conflict with the Obama-Biden administration in 2015 when he addressed Congress in an attempt to prevent the Iranian nuclear agreement form being signed.

According to Lapid, anger and resentment at Obama’s White House prevented Israel from becoming a party to the multilateral talks on the Iranian nuclear problem and now that the 2015 nuclear agreement – formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan on Action (JCPOA) – will likely be revisited given that it is vital for the country to reclaim its place at the negotiating table.

“Part of the obstacles that were created after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at Congress in 2015 is that we were not even near the table, where decisions were made, because of the anger, the resentment prevented us from being there. Even the kind of intelligence only Israel has was not on the table while discussing the details of the JCPOA”, Lapid said during the virtual conference at the Brookings Institution.

“Prime Minister Netanayhu has made a mistake of affiliating himself way too much with the Republican Party, starting his conflict with President Obama and the administration in 2015, which escalated to his speech in Congress and then in ways becoming some sort of a branch… not even of a Republican Party… but a certain part of the Republican Party”, he said.