'Barak did not leak Ben-Eliezer meeting'

Reporter says Barak not source of Turkey meeting story.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 6, 2010 17:19
2 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

ehud barak 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Channel 2 reporter Amnon Abramovich took the unusual step of revealing on Tuesday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak was not the source of his scoop last Wednesday that  Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Ben-Eliezer had publicly accused Barak of harming Israel's security and foreign relations by leaking the meeting, and he threatened to "skewer" Barak's spokesman. Barak had vigorously denied that he was the source of the report, although he confirmed that he was one of the few people who, unlike Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, was told about the meeting in advance.

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"I don't know how it works for other journalists," Abramovich wrote in Tuesday's Yediot Aharonot newspaper. "I, for instance, remember the leaks and forget who my sources were. I use the content and erase the procedure. [But] amid the uproar over harming policies and security, amid the accusations and the fighting, amid the skewering and the poking, it is important and fair for me to say: Ehud Barak was not my source."

Abramovich told Army Radio that he decided to admit that Barak was not his source after he received phone calls from people close to the defense minister who accused him of causing him great political harm by remaining silent. The calls came after Yediot Aharonot led their newspaper on Monday with Ben-Eliezer's accusations.

"A witch hunt ensued accusing Barak of harming Israel's security and foreign policy," he said in the interview. "When I saw an innocent man's blood is shed, I felt an obligation to reveal that Ehud Barak was not the source."

Abramovich refused to reveal who his source was, leaving politicians from across the political spectrum to speculate.



Barak's ally, Labor secretary-general Weizmann Shiri, hinted in a radio interview on Sunday that he believed the leak came from was a Labor minister. He later ruled out Ben-Eliezer and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon. Social Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog said Thursday that he believed Lieberman leaked the meeting because he was angry about being left in the dark.

Ben-Eliezer's spokesman declined to respond to Abramovich's article. He said that Ben-Eliezer still did not know who was behind the leak.

Lieberman told Army Radio Tuesday morning that he was not angry at Ben-Eliezer or Netanyahu for keeping him out of the loop. He said his meeting with the prime minister on Friday was not intended to "open a new page" and heal their relationship.

"We meet on a regular basis every Friday," he said. "It was not an emergency meeting as it was portrayed. There is nothing personal here."


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