Israeli ex-spymasters warn country is 'critically ill' under Netanyahu

Netanyahu did not immediately respond, but a senior member of his governing coalition brushed off the censure.

March 27, 2018 11:26
2 minute read.
Israeli ex-spymasters warn country is 'critically ill' under Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a visit of an army base in the West Bank settlement of Beit El near Ramallah January 10, 2017. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

The six former living Mossad chiefs collectively accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of placing his need for power and money above the public interest, thereby placing the country in a critically ill state.

Speaking to Yediot Aharonot on Tuesday, the six former spymasters battered Netanyahu for failed leadership and leading to a breakdown in values.

Shabtai Shavit, Mossad chief from 1989 to 1996, said: “I feel really badly about what is happening with the country today. The damage is so deep and so comprehensive. There are no redlines, no taboos and add to that the split within the nation.”

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, who headed the spy unit from 2011 to 2016, echoed those sentiments, saying: “The problem is one of values and splits... We need leadership which can guide us through crisis to the right vision. Unfortunately, that is not what there is today.”

Danny Yatom, who headed the Mossad from 1996 to 1998, said the prime minister needed to be replaced, accusing him and those around him of “putting their interests ahead of national interests” all against the background of a dizzying number of corruption investigations.

Police questioned the prime minister, his wife and his son Yair on Monday in Case 4000 in which the Netanyahus as a unit are suspected of influencing state policy to favor Bezeq telecommunications in exchange for the Internet site Walla giving Netanyahu favorable coverage. Shaul Elovitch owns Walla and a controlling interest in Bezeq.

Yatom also voiced concern about “the inertia in the diplomatic sphere, which is leading us toward a bi-national state [with the Palestinians], which would spell the end of this Jewish and democratic state.”
MKs respond to police recommendations that the AG indict Netanyahu on two accounts of bribery, Febraury 13, 2018. (Reuters)

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been frozen since September 2014 with the Palestinians currently unwilling to even hear the US’s peace plan after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and sent a mixed message about the fate of east Jerusalem for the Palestinians.

“We have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren here, and I want them to live in a healthy country – and the country is sick,” Zvi Zamir, the Mossad director from 1968 to 1974, told Yediot.

“We are in a state of being critically ill. Maybe the country had symptoms when Netanyahu took over, but he has brought it into a grave situation like that of a malignant disease,” he said.

Netanyahu’s office had not responded by press time.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett rejected the Mossad chiefs’ attacks, saying they were “simply untrue.”

“The country is in an excellent condition,” said Bennett. “Among most of our leadership, the good of the country comes first and foremost... Israel is going in a good direction!”

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