Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) embraces former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Likud Deputy Minister Ophir Akunis on Sunday criticized former Mossad chief Meir Dagan for recently attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly after the prime minister helped save Dagan's life by facilitating a liver transplant for him in Belarus in 2012.
Both in a Channel 2 interview aired Friday and in an anti-Netanyahu rally at Rabin Square on Saturday, in which he was the main speaker, Dagan slammed Netanyahu's policies, saying that Israel was facing the worst crisis in leadership in the history of the state.
In the Channel 2 interview, Dagan acknowledged that Netanyahu had helped him find a new liver and he would always be grateful to him. He said that his current comments were against Netanyahu's policies, and not directed against the man personally.
Akunis on Sunday told Army Radio that "If someone had saved my life, I would never in my life even think of coming out with such a venomous attack against him - not publicly or privately."
Akunis said that "What Meir Dagan said yesterday was not about the issues, it was personal."
Speaking at the rally attended by tens of thousands of people on Saturday, Dagan said, “I am frightened by our leadership. I am afraid because of the lack of vision and loss of direction. I am frightened by the hesitation and the stagnation. And I am frightened, above all else, from a crisis in leadership. It is the worst crisis that Israel has seen to this day.”
Dagan’s speech came the day after Channel 2 aired an interview with the former spy chief in which he leveled scathing criticism at Netanyahu. In the interview, Dagan can be heard saying “bullshit” while watching Netanyahu tell the US Congress last week
that Iran could sprint to a nuclear device in less than a year. Dagan said the assessment is inaccurate and also ridiculed the prime minister’s assertion that Iran has missiles that could hit the US.
Dagan also said Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress was “a political speech that caused diplomatic and defense damage to Israel,” and while an Iranian nuke is an “almost intolerable threat” to Israel, the way Netanyahu has handled the issue has hurt efforts to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear armament program.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.