Yuval Diskin, who last year retired as head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, on Friday used exceptionally strong language to criticize his former boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of being caught up in a messianic fervor about the Iranian nuclear program, a fervor which he implied was more befitting the Iranian leadership.
“I don’t have faith in the current leadership of Israel to lead us to an event of this magnitude, of war with Iran,” Diskin said. “I do not believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on Messianic feelings. I have seen them up close. They are not messiahs, these two (Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak), and they are not the people that I personally trust to lead Israel into such an event.”
Diskin warned that “one of the results of an Israeli attack on Iran could be a dramatic acceleration of the Iran program,” adding that the Iranians would then “have legitimacy to do it more quickly and in a shorter timeframe.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reacted to Diskin’s statements saying: “If you do not trust the prime minister and not the defense minister, you should have resigned and not waited for the end of your term.”
A spokesman for Netanyahu said Diskin’s comments were “irresponsible and motivated by personal frustration.”
Barak’s representative used a more mocking tone, saying, “We congratulate Diskin on his entrance into politics. It’s embarrassing and saddening to see the loosening of responsibility and judgment and the foul language used by a man who served the public for many years.” The spokesman added: “Diskin is acting in a petty, irresponsible way, motivated by personal frustration. He’s harming a heritage of generations of Shin Bet heads, as well as the organization’s operational norms and values.”