Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) embraces former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former prime minister Ehud Barak responded fiercely to a posthumous attack from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Monday, who questioned their management of the country.
Dagan died of cancer on March 17 at age 71.
On Monday, Yediot Aharonot published a portion of an interview with him in which he called the prime minister “the worst manager I know” and said Netanyahu was the only leader who could not persuade the defense establishment to accept his point of view on key issues.
“I knew many prime ministers,” Dagan said. “None of them were pure and holy. Even [Ariel] Sharon, who I knew so well, was not so holy. But they shared one quality: When there was a conflict between their personal and national interests, they always put the state first, except for two: Bibi [Netanyahu] and Barak.”
Mocking Netanyahu and Barak, Dagan said they both “think they are the world’s greatest geniuses.” He told the newspaper that he had to raise his voice repeatedly to argue with Netanyahu and try to stop him from ordering a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“Israel does not have the military capability to completely stop the Iranian nuclear project,” Dagan said.
In an official statement released on Monday, Netanyahu’s office did not refrain from criticizing the late Dagan.
“It is improper when former officials twist facts and attack their former bosses after they leave their post,” Netanyahu’s office said.
“It is not the job of a prime minister to rubber stamp his subordinates, but to craft policies based on a wide perspective of Israel’s security and national interests, and that is what the prime minister did,” the statement went on. “Dagan’s statements during the struggle against the Iranian nuclear program caused great harm to the struggle. Prime Minister Netanyahu will continue to lead the effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
Barak told the newspaper in response that while he loved Dagan, he had made mistakes in judgment of both people and situations.
“He was a great person who brought the Mossad to new heights,” Barak said. “Every human being sometimes judges people through a personal filter.”