JERUSALEM — President Donald Trump understands the "danger" of the Iran nuclear deal, the Israeli prime minister said on Thursday, adding that Israel will take all measures necessary to stop Tehran from getting atomic weapons.
Iran agreed in a deal with world powers in 2015 to limit its ability to enrich uranium in exchange for the removal of some international economic sanctions.
Trump vowed at times during the presidential campaign either to walk away from the deal or to renegotiate it but it is not clear what action will be taken now he is in office.
Netanyahu is vehemently opposed the deal, arguing that it will not prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons' capability, which would pose an existential threat to Israel.
Netanyahu said that despite what he described as a revival of anti-Semitism in the West, the greatest danger "comes from Iran."
The Shiite power and Israel's archenemy is "calling outright for the destruction of the Jewish state," Netanyahu said, adding that the Iranian regime's calls to "wipe out every Israeli" have been met with "deafening silence" by the world.
Netanyahu said he believes the Trump era will change that.
"I spoke a few days ago to President Trump and he spoke about the Iranian aggression. He spoke about Iran's commitment to destroy Israel. He spoke about the nature of this nuclear agreement and the danger it poses. We spoke about it together," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu's remarks come ahead of his visit the White House in early February in hopes of forging close ties with Trump.
While the two countries are close allies, relations were sometimes tense between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama because of their vastly different world views on the Iran deal and other issues.
There is sentiment in the nationalist Israeli right wing that Trump's election could usher in a new era of relations with the United States.
Netanyahu was speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
His remarks about Iran — at a ceremony commemorating the systematic mass murder of Jews during World War II — show how the Holocaust is still a central part of Israel's psyche.
Israel was established just three years after the end of World War II, and hundreds of thousands of dazed survivors made their way to Israel. Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust, wiping out a third of world Jewry.
"As prime minister of Israel, I will not be silent ... and we don't intend to be inactive either," Netanyahu said. "We will take all the measures we need to defend ourselves, and we will take all the measures necessary to prevent Iran from getting the means of mass murder."