(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM & FACEBOOK)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "panicked" because he knows that his leading of the government is soon coming to an end, former premier Ehud Barak said Friday evening.
“I’ve known Netanyahu since he was 20 years old, I can see the edges of panic. Netanyahu understands clearly that his days as prime minister are numbered, even if it takes months or years, they are numbered,” Barak posited during an interview with Channel 2, which aired right after the start of Shabbat.
“He recognizes that the countdown to the end of his reign has begun, whether it now takes a year or a year and a half,” he added.
Barak continued by lamenting the current government's continued wayward drift to the extreme Right of the political spectrum, which has yet to yield under Netanyahu's stewardship.
“This government is made up only of right-wing parties; there is no balancing element. It is operating in devious ways, ways that endanger the State of Israel."
“[Netanyahu] needs to be replaced and thanked for everything he has done for the state ...but it’s time to go."
"Netanyahu is not a magician, he's gone off the rails," Barack added, mocking a common refrain among the premier's supporters who referred to him as "magic" or a magician after his success in last year's elections.
Barak, who served under Netanyahu as the government's top defense official, also rejected rumors that Netanyahu had recently offered him to head the Foreign Ministry within the government.
"I was not offered to be the foreign minister and if I had been offered the position, I would not have taken it," he said.
Barak's scathing interview with Channel 2 comes right after he blasted Netanyahu at the Herzylia Conference the previous evening, attacking the premier for his lack of vision and said that he alone is responsible for his government’s failures.
“Leaders around the world do not believe a word said by Netanyahu and his government,” Barak said. “Who in the name of God gave Netanyahu the authority to lead us to the edge of an abyss? He warned of Israel becoming Belfast, Bosnia, old Johannesburg, or Europe ahead of World War II.
“If it looks like the sparks of fascism, walks like the sparks of fascism, and barks like the sparks of fascism, it is the sparks of fascism,” said Barak, mocking Netanyahu’s 2012 “nuclear duck” speech at the United Nations.
Barak again hinted at his possible return to politics, which he had done the previous night, saying that he was the only one to "have beaten Netanyahu in an election."
"To run for the premiership or stay silent, these are not the only two options... I want to act in order to change the situation and I will help shoulder the effort to change the situation," he said.
In response to Barak's comments, the Likud party released a scathing statement which blasted the former IDF chief as a failed politician and leader.
"Barak wishes for the umpteenth time to return to the position of the Left's savior... and even as a politicians and former prime minister he still has failed to find a way back into politics."
"Barak still simply cannot accept that both the Israeli public and his party have showed him the way out," the statement said.
Taking his swings at the former prime minister, Netanyahu said in closed conversations before Thursday's Herziliya Conference that “Barak is desperate to stay in the public’s consciousness, so he makes a point of attacking me once a month.”Gil Hoffman contributed to this article.