Benjamin Netanyahu gestures with his hand during a cabinet meeting.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at his security cabinet ministers on Monday for leaks that regularly emerge from its meetings.
Speaking in a closed-door session of the Likud faction that was leaked by his own staff before the meeting ended, Netanyahu said “A security cabinet cannot be run with leaks and tweets on Twitter.”
Netanyahu’s comments followed mutual recriminations between security cabinet ministers who blamed each other for the leaks, which started with a report during Sunday evening’s Channel 2 news.
The report said that in Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) asked Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot why the IDF is not firing at everyone in Gaza who launches an incendiary kite or balloon. Eizenkot responded, according to the report “I don’t think it is right to fire at children and teens, who are sometimes those who launch balloons and kites.”
Bennett reportedly asked a follow-up question about why the IDF does not fire at kite launchers
who are clearly not children and Eizenkot responded, “I disagree with you, for both operational and moral reasons.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) accused Bennett in media interviews of leaking from the security cabinet in order to build his security credentials, because he wants to be minister of defense.
“A politician pulling a maneuver on the back of the IDF chief of staff is the ugliest,” Liberman told Ynet.
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Bayit Yehudi responded by calling Liberman “a weak and pitiful defense minister who should concentrate on ending the firing on the South.”
Yisrael Beytenu called upon Bennett to “concentrate on preparing the education system for the school year and improving the test results of Israeli pupils, and stop besmirching the defense system and the chief of staff.”
After Bayit Yehudi said Bennett told Netanyahu he would volunteer to be the first to take a Polygraph test if Liberman is second, Liberman responded by telling Israel Radio that he has been pushing for regular polygraph tests of security cabinet ministers for years.
In a speech in the Knesset plenum, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid mocked Netanyahu for criticizing security cabinet leaks. Lapid said Netanyahu leaked from security cabinet meetings when he was a member during Operation Protective Edge.
The Likud denied Lapid’s accusations.Oren Oppenheim contributed to this report.
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