Senior associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused former Mossad chief Meir Dagan of involvement in a political plot to topple Netanyahu.
Continuing their attacks this weekend on Dagan over his recent criticism of the prime minister, associates who declined to be identified by name said Dagan was angling for a Knesset seat in the next elections, despite the fact that Dagan cannot actually run for the Knesset for the next three years because of a law requiring a cooling-off period for senior security officials before entering politics.
Netanyahu's associates and advisers in the prime minister's bureau said Dagan had acted without "national responsibility" when he warned against an Israeli attack on Iran. They accused Dagan of perpetrating "sabotage against democratic institutions in Israel."
Netanyahu associates hinted that Dagan had met recently with journalist Yair Lapid. Lapid, it is believed, will be running for a seat in the next Knesset, which the associates said indicates that Dagan's criticism of the prime minister was politically motivated.
"If Dagan wants he can go into politics," a Netanyahu associate said. "There is an attempt here to topple the prime minister by a very specific group of people."
Lapid denied having met with Dagan.
Channel 10 quoted sources close to Netanyahu as saying that Dagan had "gone crazy" and had "compromised state secrets" by speaking out against an Israeli attack on Iran.