The prime minister blames the opposition leader for leaking information; Mofaz aides: Netanyahu is the only serial leaker among top Israeli officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked Opposition Leader Shaul Mofaz on Thursday, for what he said was the Kadima chairman's lack of "responsibility" in his dealings with the media.
The exchange, which took place during a routine meeting in which the premier updates the opposition head on current government affairs, came following Mofaz's attack on Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's reported plans to advance military action against Iran's nuclear program.
Speaking in the Knesset on Wednesday, the Kadima chairman accused Netanyahu's government of using the Iranian issue to divert attention from Israel's domestic problems, saying the premier was "planning distractions far from Israel's borders."
"Cries are heard from afar. Motivation is high. Scare tactics are used. And the strategy is clear: If we die of fear, we won't die of hunger," Mofaz added.
The opposition leader went to call Netanyahu's style of government "Bibi-land – Netanyahu's land of wonders, a cut-off kingdom that is all illusion, complete with a fraudulent leadership."
During a meeting with Mofaz on Thursday, Netanyahu said that he was "taking into account that you will use the things about to be said here in the media, and still, as prime minister, I will continue to treat each opposition leader with responsibility."
"I expect the same responsibility from you, more so than you have displayed thus far," the premier added.
Mofaz's aides responded to the rebuke, saying that speaking as "someone who leaked the Shtauber document (a covert security report regarding Syria that Netanyahu leaked during a Knesset speech in 1994), the prime minister can't lecture anyone one state security matters."
"Netanyahu is the only serial leaker among top officials. After clashing with U.S. President [Barack Obama], and shamelessly attacking President [Shimon Peres], just for having a different opinion, Netanyahu is doing it again with the opposition head," Mofaz's aides continued.
"It is expected from the prime minister to act with level-headedness and discretion, and it is unfortunate that this is not the case," they added."Mofaz will continue to act for the security of Israel and will do everything in his power to prevent hasty actions which would threaten its future – in spite of the prime minister's opposition. An entire nation expects that the prime minister act responsibly."
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