Efraim Halevy at JPost Annual Conference .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The former director of Israel's national intelligence agency Mossad said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a "fear monger" and believed the "countdown" to the end of his administration "has begun."
In an interview with al-Jazeera Tuesday, Efraim Halevy also commented that the phenomenon of Jewish extremism in Israel eclipsed the threat of a nuclear Iran and that top generals in the IDF believed Hamas in Gaza "is the best situation for Israel."
Speaking with Mehdi Hasan, host of the program UP Front, Halevy spoke candidly about Netanyahu's performance in the premiership, insinuating that his former boss used fear as a political tool in order to garner support.
"I think he is a fear monger. I think he uses fear in a way in which one should not use," Halevy said.
"I think nobody should vote out of fear," he added.
Halevy also said that the new appointment of Yisrael Beytenu
chairmen Avigdor Liberman to the post of Minister of Defense "heralded the the beginning of a countdown of the end of the administration of Mr Netanyahu."
"This is going to be the first shot in a series of events in which I believe might come about in the next year or two... the transition from the Netanyahu era to a different era," he added.
Liberman was appointed to the post
shortly after former defense minister Moshe Ya'alon resigned
from the position following growing tensions between himself and Netanyahu. Liberman accepted the powerful ministerial portfolio as a condition of entering the Likud led coalition in the Knesset, expanding the majority from 61 to 66 seats.
When asked if Jewish extremism was on the rise in Israel, Halevy posited: "There is a lot of soul searching going on...certain manifestation of certain trends which are very troublesome."
Towards the conclusion of the interview, Hasan inquired what Israel's approach to Hamas should be, and if the country would be better severed by communicating with the militant organization.
"We have to talk to your enemies. Next year will mark 30 years Hamas has been in existence and the Hamas is still there, although we've beaten [Hamas] from the air, from the ground," adding moments later that Israel must accept Hamas as a "political reality" and that every commander in charge of units stationed opposite the Gaza border believes "that Hamas should be there rather than anybody else."
Halevy served in the Mossad since 1961 and served as head of the clandestine intelligence agency under three different prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Prime Minister's office did not did not respond before the publication of this article.