Mofaz: Netanyahu, Barak 'afraid of facing' Diskin

Opposition leader says Diskin spoke out against PM, Barak out of "deep concern" for country; Dichter: Diskin damaging Shin Bet.

Mofaz speaks at Knesset 370 (photo credit: Knesset Spokesman)
Mofaz speaks at Knesset 370
(photo credit: Knesset Spokesman)
Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz said Sunday he took former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin's criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak very seriously and rejected claims that the comments were made out of personal, political considerations.
Diskin lashed out at Netanyahu and Barak on Friday for poor leadership, saying that the two were lying to the Israeli public about the projected effectiveness of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities and "not fit" to lead the country. 
Mofaz told Army Radio that Diskin had spoken out against Netanyahu and Barak out of "deep concern" for the direction in which the two were leading the country. He added that the counterattack against Diskin by Netanyahu and Barak associates "suggested a fear of facing" up to the substance of Diskin's criticism.
Kadima MK Avi Dichter also responded Sunday to Diskin's criticism of the country's leadership, telling Army Radio that while he had a right and duty to participate in the public discourse on Israel's security situation, his personal attacks against Netanyahu and Barak could serve to "damage the institution of Shin Bet chief."
Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief himself, said that Diskin erred in referring to Barak and Netanyahu as two people who see themselves as "messiahs." He said that such personal impressions of the country's top leaders could only come from someone who was an "intimate partner" to the defense minister and prime minister. As someone in a position that is "directly responsible for the personal security of the prime minister," the Shin Bet chief must know how to keep certain things "in the room." Dichter said that Diskin's indiscretions could alter the relationship between future Shin Bet chiefs and prime ministers, a relationship that demands trust.
Kadima MK and former deputy Shin Bet director Yoel Hasson said that Netanyahu should be concerned about the wave of criticism he has faced from former heads of the security establishment, such as Diskin, former Mossad head Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of  staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
According to Hasson, the accumulated criticism should remind the prime minister that one cannot have a break in relations between the security establishment and the prime minister.
Neither Barak nor Netanyahu has commented on Diskin’s remarks, though sources close to each did hit back hard.
Sources close to the prime minister on Saturday called Diskin's attacks "irresponsible" and "motivated by personal frustration that he wasn't chosen to head the Mossad."
Sources close to the defense minister said sarcastically on Saturday, “We welcome his entrance into politics.”
The sources said Diskin’s attack was politically motivated, and that it was “embarrassing and saddening to see the weakness, judgement, irresponsibility and low language that Diskin, who served the public for years, was dragged into.”
Continuing their counterattack, the sources said Diskin was acting in a petty, inappropriate manner, and was driven by “personal frustration.”
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.