Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz said Sunday he took former Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin's criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak very
seriously and rejected claims that the comments were made out of personal, political considerations.
Diskin lashed out at
Netanyahu and Barak on Friday for poor leadership, saying that the two were
lying to the Israeli public about the projected effectiveness of an Israeli strike on Iran's
nuclear facilities and "not fit" to lead the country.
Mofaz told Army Radio that Diskin had
spoken out against Netanyahu and Barak out of "deep concern" for the
direction in which the two were leading the country. He added that the
counterattack against Diskin by Netanyahu and Barak associates
"suggested a fear of facing" up to the substance of Diskin's criticism.
MK Avi Dichter also responded Sunday to Diskin's criticism of the
country's leadership, telling Army Radio that while he had a right and
duty to participate in the public discourse on Israel's security
situation, his personal attacks against Netanyahu and Barak could serve
to "damage the institution of Shin Bet chief."
Dichter, a former
Shin Bet chief himself, said that Diskin erred in referring to Barak and
Netanyahu as two people who see themselves as "messiahs." He said that
such personal impressions of the country's top leaders could only come
from someone who was an "intimate partner" to the defense minister and
prime minister. As someone in a position that is "directly responsible
for the personal security of the prime minister," the Shin Bet chief
must know how to keep certain things "in the room." Dichter said that
Diskin's indiscretions could alter the relationship between future Shin
Bet chiefs and prime ministers, a relationship that demands trust.
MK and former deputy Shin Bet director Yoel Hasson said that Netanyahu
should be concerned about the wave of criticism he has faced from former
heads of the security establishment, such as Diskin, former Mossad head
Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
to Hasson, the accumulated criticism should remind the prime minister
that one cannot have a break in relations between the security
establishment and the prime minister.
Neither Barak nor Netanyahu has commented on Diskin’s remarks, though sources close to each did hit back hard.
close to the prime minister on Saturday called Diskin's attacks
"irresponsible" and "motivated by personal frustration that he wasn't
chosen to head the Mossad."
Sources close to the defense minister said sarcastically on Saturday, “We welcome his entrance into politics.”
sources said Diskin’s attack was politically motivated, and that it was
“embarrassing and saddening to see the weakness, judgement,
irresponsibility and low language that Diskin, who served the public for
years, was dragged into.”
Continuing their counterattack, the
sources said Diskin was acting in a petty, inappropriate manner, and was
driven by “personal frustration.”
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.