Israel's deputy prime minister acknowledged this week that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never actually said Israel must be "wiped off the map."
The oft-repeated quote attributed to Ahmadinejad is actually a mis-translation of remarks he made in 2005. According to Israel's Ynet News, Ahmadinejad was actually quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini when he said: "The imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time."
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dan Meridor said Iran's leaders nevertheless have a history of making other incredibly disturbing statements.
"They all come, basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive," said Meridor, who also serves as minister of intelligence and atomic energy. "They didn’t say, ’We’ll wipe it out,’ you’re right. But 'It will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor that should be removed,' was said just two weeks ago again."
When Al Jazeera reporter Teymoor Nabili said he was "glad" to hear Meridor acknowledge the distinction, Meridor repeated: "They say it will be removed, needs to be removed."
"They said that it will cease to exist in a historical context," Nabili said.
"This is what they said, Israel should not exist, it's not legitimate, not the borders, not the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, not Jerusalem, not refugees, Israel is unnatural, it will not exist, it is on the verge of collapse," Meridor said. "When you hear that from these people you need to take it seriously."
He added, "To say not to take it seriously, [say it's] just rhetoric, is wrong."
Watch the entire interview below; specific comments about begin at the 4:10 mark: