Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Saturday accused Defense Minister
Ehud Barak of improper behavior in dealing with the Iranian threat and relations
with the US.
“Something happened with the Iranian story that is certainly
improper, and that is why the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was furious at
Barak,” Ya’alon said, speaking at a cultural event in Ramat Gan’s Ramat Chen
According to Ya’alon, Barak put politics before the
“Netanyahu thought Barak was with him on the Iranian
issue,” Ya’alon said.
“There were even briefings on the topic that I
didn’t like. Barak ran away at the last minute and tried to represent himself as
In presenting himself as moderate, Barak, who is chairman of
the Independence Party, was trying to “win points” in the US and with Israeli
voters, the Likud minister explained.
Ya’alon added that the military
option must be the last choice in dealing with Iran, and that more sanctions
should be put on the Islamic Republic.
“At the end of the day, it is
possible to stop the Iranian nuclear project without military force, and to do
that, we must bring [Teheran] to the dilemma of whether to continue the project
or survive. Still, this won’t be effective if there is no credible military
option,” he said. “Unfortunately, the American stance has not convinced Iran
that the West is willing to go all the way.”
Later on Saturday, Barak
said that Ya’alon caught “primary-itis, a disease that affects Likud members.
Primary- itis made Ya’alon say pathetic things; it’s a shame.”
interview with Channel 2’s Meet the Press, Barak said he and Netanyahu were
totally in sync on the Iranian issue, except that he thinks all talks on the
topic should held be behind closed doors.
“I acted, act and will continue
to act to ensure that we are prepared to face the Iranian threat, while
successfully managing our relationship with the US, an important element in
Israel’s power,” Barak said.
“I have acted responsibly in the past and
will do so in the future.”
Last Saturday night, Barak and Netanyahu met
amid public bickering on Iran.
The controversy broke out the previous
Tuesday when a conversation in which the prime minister said Barak was
undermining him in meetings in the US was leaked to the press.
meetings in question included one with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, a close ally
of US President Barack Obama, which Netanyahu learned about from the press, and
another with Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, to which Israeli
Ambassador Michael Oren was not invited.
After his meeting with the prime
minister, Barak said he and Netanyahu “see eyeto- eye” on every aspect of the
Iranian threat, as well as on “the relationship with the United States under the
prime minister’s leadership.”