Peres and Netanyahu at Press Conference 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
If President Shimon Peres is so worried about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Iran policies that he cannot sleep at night, he should resign, former president Ezer Weizman’s former bureau chief Aryeh Shumer said Sunday.
Shumer, who served as director- general of the President’s Residence during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, responded to Peres’s criticism of Netanyahu in interviews over the past week in which Peres said Israel should not attack Iran without American approval.
“After Peres’s long political career, he should know more than anyone that what he said is unacceptable,” Shumer said.
“He can say privately to the prime minister and defense minister that he can’t sleep at night, but he can’t say it on TV with such determination – because then no one will be able to sleep.”
The former bureau chief said that if Peres felt so strongly, the best way to prove his point would have been to resign and then fight Netanyahu’s policies in the political arena.
“Saying what he said is not the job of the president,” Shumer said. “Resigning would have been the right way to make the statement he tried to make.”
Weizman was known for his constant pressure on Netanyahu to advance the peace process. But Shumer said the late president was careful to never cross a red line and interfere in politics.
“Ezer Weizmann was a president who knew what he was supposed to do and what he wasn’t supposed to do,” he said. “Ezer didn’t always agree with Bibi [Netanyahu]. But when Ezer wanted to invite Yasser Arafat to his home, he persuaded Bibi and he agreed.
Bibi might not have liked it, and he didn’t like Arafat, but they reached an understanding.
“That’s not what Peres did.”