Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be fired and not Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, former Mossad director Tamir Pardo said Wednesday.
“The episode regarding the firing of Gallant was an extremely unusual and rare episode of the caliber that I cannot recall anything comparable occurring in the State of Israel,” he said at the annual Meir Dagan Conference at Netanya Academic College. “Gallant [correctly] read the situation and was fired.”
“In any normal Western-style democratic country, any such prime minister would get up and quit the same day,” he added.
The role of prime minister
Pardo recounted how former British prime minister David Cameron resigned immediately after failing to convince the country to accept his position on the Brexit issue of England separating from the EU.
Furthermore, a prime minister is a political office that exists to serve the nation, and “the moment that the nation says ‘no,’ he is supposed to get up and leave” his post, he said.
Regarding Netanyahu’s pause of the judicial overhaul, Pardo said: “This pause will only have accomplished something good if by pausing the incident [the judicial overhaul battle], it enables us to get somewhere. But that is not enough. The same night that the defense minister was fired, the defense establishment was surrounded by a vacuum.”
Also, he asked, “What is the significance that there is no letter of dismissal; that there is a minister who sits at his desk and makes decisions while the issue of a formal letter of dismissal hangs over his head?”
In addition, National Unity MK Gadi Eisenkot, a former IDF chief of staff, told the same conference that Netanyahu had undermined Israel’s relations with the US with his judicial overhaul and other policies.
US-Israel relations are critical
He emphasized that any daylight between Israel and the US must be immediately fixed to enable the Jewish state to cope with threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorism and other challenges.
Eisenkot said government ministers should not attack the US or say things such as, “Israel can get along without you,” lest America’s billions in defense aid, intelligence sharing and invaluable diplomatic backing be put in jeopardy.
Earlier at the conference, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) called on all sides to calm down.
Israel’s political system must be reformed so that party leaders with large egos have less power, and there is more of a balance between the executive branch and the Knesset, she said.
The Knesset has lost most of its independent power, Gamliel said.
When members of the audience asked why she had not spoken out against the large egos of coalition party leaders who have acted divisively, she said she was giving internal criticism behind closed doors with the people who matter.