Major General (res. ) Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, a scientist and professor who currently chairs the Israel Space Agency, told a Tel Aviv University student newspaper that he believes Defense Minister Ehud Barak poses a danger to the country's security.
Ben Yisrael completed his military service nine years ago after performing a wide variety of tasks related to the intelligence and technological fields. His most recent post was head of the weapons research and development administration in the Defense Ministry. In addition, he was twice awarded the Israel Defense Prize during his military career.
The interview was published in the most recent edition of Teza, the Tel Aviv University campus newspaper. Ben Yisrael told the paper that Israel's security predicament is more tenuous than it was on the eve of the Second Lebanon War.
"Today I am much more concerned," Ben Yisrael said. "And not because of the chief of staff. I'm talking about those above the chief of staff - the prime minister and the defense minister. I'm very concerned."
Ben Yisrael would not specifically cite in which areas he feels Barak has been inadequate, though he did say: "All of us can see what Barak is doing in politics, and nobody is satisfied."
"It may seem to you that these issues are personal matters, like the apartment he lives in, whom he marries, which party he founds and how he manages it," he said. "In all these areas, he has made the worst decisions in the world. But in security-related matters, because you are unaware of it all since it is classified, well, then he is A-OK there. Well, I'm here to tell you that is nonsense. A person is a person is a person. I don't want to delve too deeply into it and say things that I know I can't in a newspaper. But I'm very concerned."
Ben Yisrael, who was a member of Knesset as part of the Kadima faction, has been accused of launching politically motivated attacks against Barak.
In response, Barak's office said: "We regret the blunt, inaccurate statements made by Yitzhak Ben Yisrael against the defense minister, Ehud Barak. The facts are that during Barak's tenure as defense minister, Israel has enjoyed quiet on its borders on a scale it has not seen in years. All the rest of these statements are spurious ones which raise serious questions about Ben Yisrael's judgment."
Ben Yisrael refused to comment for this story.
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