(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three days after former defense ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Ehud Barak issued scathing attacks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Herzliya Conference, two more former defense ministers made their voices heard on Sunday.
Former defense minister Amir Peretz, speaking in radio interviews, blamed Netanyahu for much of the country’s ills and said there must be a serious effort to ensure he is replaced.
“The prime minister is not the solution,” the Zionist Union MK said. “The prime minister is the problem. Everything must be done so that after the next election, he will no longer be prime minister.”
Former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, who has been on poor terms with Netanyahu since 2012, declined to speak negatively about him at the German Israel Congress in Frankfurt.
“I have no interest in criticizing him from here,” Mofaz said when asked whether the “brave leadership” he told the crowd the world required applied to Netanyahu.
Unlike Barak and Ya’alon, who downplayed the Iran threat, Mofaz emphasized the threat in his keynote address.
“Iran is a major destabilizing force, striving for regional hegemony by directing and financing terror directly and through its proxies,” Mofaz said.
He said the West should act as gatekeepers to thwart the Iranians and any attempt by Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.
MKs from across the spectrum took aim Sunday at Barak, accusing him of going too far in his attacks. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) said “Barak was Israel’s worst prime minister,” and noted that he was forced out after a year and a half.
“The incitement in Israel has crossed redlines,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) said. “I am worried about the incitement against Netanyahu. We saw what happened in England, where differences over policies led to the tragedy of a member of Parliament getting killed.”
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said Barak split Labor and nearly destroy it after he insisted on joining a Netanyahu- led government against the will of his party.
“I would not put down his intelligence or his contributions to the state, but to call for a civil disobedience from his comfortable life is not trustworthy,” Yacimovich said.
Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel said that even though he agreed with Barak’s attack, “he [Barak] did not make me miss him at all.” Calling Barak “Labor’s gravedigger,” he said, “We do not need you or your analysis.”
Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) said that since Barak left the Defense Ministry in 2013, so much had changed that he is no longer in the know. Kara mocked Barak’s new beard.
“He looks ultra-Orthodox, so why should we listen to his advice about security?” Kara asked. “What do the haredim know about security?”