Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday responded to attacks from former Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, saying his comments were
"irresponsible" and "motivated by personal frustration that he wasn't
chosen to head the Mossad."
On Friday night, Diskin sharply
criticized Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Majdi Forum
in Kfar Saba, saying they "present a false view to the public on the
Iranian bomb, as though acting against Iran would prevent a nuclear
bomb. But attacking Iran will encourage them to develop a bomb all the
Referring to the leaders as "our two messiahs," Diskin
said "they are not fit to hold the steering-wheel of power. I have no
faith in the current leadership in Israel and its ability to conduct a
Sources close to Barak responded to Diskin's comments on Saturday, sarcastically saying, "We welcome his entrance to politics."
close to the defense minister said Diskin's attack was politically
motivated, adding that it is "embarrassing and saddening to see the
weakness, judgement, responsibility, and the low language that Diskin,
who served the public for years, was dragged into."
their counter-attack, the sources said Diskin was acting in a petty,
inappropriate manner, and was driven by "personal frustration."
"He is harming the legacy of Shin Bet heads... and the functioning norms and values of the organization," they added. Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman told Channel 2
on Saturday that Diskin should
have resigned as Shin Bet chief if he had no faith in the prime
minister and defense minister.
Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen
implied that Diskin's comments were political, as they were conveniently
made in an election year. "If these are really his opinions about the
prime minister and defense minister, we would expect the Shin Bet chief
to state them - and to act upon them - in real time, and not to wait for
an election year."
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz stated
that Diskin's comments were "crude and inappropriate," adding that "if
these are his opinions, he should have stated them in the appropriate
forums while he was in office."
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom stated
that Diskin should not have spoken out about the Iranian threat in
public. "I think that Diskin was wrong to say what he did, and that when
he considers what he said he will realize that he was wrong," Shalom
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat called Diskin's
comments "inappropriate," adding that they could damage the country's
From the Left, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich referred
to Diskin as a "serious man" whose remarks caused disquiet. In an
interview with Army Radio, Yacimovich said that Iran is not Israel's
problem, but the whole world's problem, and the Israel must cooperate
with the US and Europe on the issue. While she said that the military
option should also be on the table, the Labor leader said that it should
be the very last option.
Diskin also blamed the Netanyahu
government for the stalled peace process with the Palestinian Authority,
saying, "Leave aside all the stories they're selling to us in the
media, that we want to talk to Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas]
but he doesn't [want to talk to us]. I'm telling you we're not talking
to the Palestinians because this government does not want to talk to the
Palestinians, and i was there until a year ago and i know what's going
on in this field from up close."
Diskin accused the current
government of having "no interest in solving anything with the
Palestinians. This government knows that if it makes the smallest step
in this direction, than the current power base and strong coalition will
fall apart. it's very simple."
He added that he was not defending the Palestinians, noting that Abbas "has made mistakes, but that's not relevant now."
"We as a people have an interest in peace, the government does not," Diskin continued.
Diskin said the concept of reaching an absolute resolution of the
conflict was a Utopian and unrealistic idea, and proposed reaching for a
two-state solution within the confines thrown up by the current