Former Mossad chief backs Shin Bet counterpart over criticism of Netanyahu, Barak
At a New York conference, Meir Dagan says Yuval Diskin 'spoke his truth' when he said he lacked faith in Netanyahu, Barak over Iran and peace process.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan backed on Sunday the former head of the Shin Bet security service, Yuval Diskin, who sharply criticized the Israeli leadership over the weekend.
Dagan said that Diskin was his friend, and added that he "spoke his own truth," at the conference in New York City, sponsored by the Jerusalem Post, reported Israeli news site Walla.
On Friday, comments made by Diskin in his local town of Kfar Sava came to light. During an event in a local restaurant, the former intelligence chief unleashed a scathing attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying he had "no faith" in their leadership.
Diskin criticized Netanyahu and Barak on their bellicose stance on Iran, as well as what he called the premier's unwillingness to advance peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
An official response from the two arrived late on Saturday, leaving Likud ministers to fend for their party leader, with some accusing the former Shin Bet chief of acting from resentment and personal interest.
Former PM Ehud Olmert also criticized Israel's confrontation with the U.S. government at the conference, and said that, "this is not the time or the place to talk or to about or to initiate" a military strike on Iran.
Olmert refused to address the remarks by Diskin's remarks, but stated, "We would all like to trust in Israel's leadership."
Olmert criticized the government, and said that it "is making a mistake" in the way it handles its ties with the Barack Obama administration. "There is no reason for us to look as if we are giving orders to the U.S. government," he said.
He also criticized the comparisons between the Holocaust and Israel's situation today, saying, "There is no reason to speak from a place of fear." He slammed the laxness of Netanyahu's government, and called on it to show initiative in the peace process, also in part to improve its international standing. "Israel is not as respected as before," he said.
The New York conference on Saturday is also attended by former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former IAF Chief Eliezer Shkedy, and Ministers Gilad Erdan and Danny Ayalon.
Ashkenazi did not address Diskin's remarks, but praised the government' success in raising awareness among the international community of Iranian threat.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon spoke at the conference about the intentions of the Yisrael Beitenu party to continue efforts over legislation of the Tal Law. He also said that in the event of a deal with the Palestinians being reached, Arabs would need to decide between "joining their brothers in a Palestinian state and becoming loyal citizens of Israel."