Following Criticism of Netanyahu, Israeli Ministers Attack Former Shin Bet Chief

Top Likud officials charge Yuval Diskin of operating from personal interest to attack PM, Barak; Shalom Simhon: A man who caused Gilad Shalit to rot in captivity can't presume to advise Israel on Iran threat.

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While aides to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have yet to respond to the harsh words uttered by ex-Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, several Likud ministers were apparently dispatched on Saturday to criticize the former security official.

On Friday, Diskin, speaking at a local event at the city of Kfar Sava, said that he had "no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war."

Shalom Simhon during a press briefing, Jan. 23, 2012.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

"I don't believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings," he added.

As was later revealed, Diskin also said that Netanyahu was not interested in advancing Middle East peace talks, adding “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations."

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Speaking on Saturday, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon called Disktin's comments "blunt and irresponsible," adding that they "mainly characterize the man himself."

"If Diskin was so worried about Netanyahu and Barak's leadership, why didn't he resign as head of the Shin Bet? Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the IDF's most decorated soldier, a [past] IDF chief and an accomplished defense minister doesn't need Diskin, who in his frustration and bitterness libels and fouls his mouth" he said.

Simhon also said that it was clear "today more than ever" that the law stipulating retired defense officials had to take a break prior to entering public office was "very important, to test security officials before they enter the political system."

"Diskin's failure of judgment caused [Gilad] Shalit to rot years in captivity and Israel to pay a dear price. He who doesn't know what council to give on prisoners shouldn't boast of his ability to give the people of Israel council on an existential threat such as the Iranian nuclear program."

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Also referring to Diskin's comments, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat said the timing of the former Shin Bet chief's attack, as well as its style, "prompt fears that it is motivated by foreign interests as opposed to the issues at hand, in a manner which does not befit his stature and former position."

"It's unfortunate that Diskin is relieving himself of the responsibility that applies to him even after he completed his duties, choosing to attack the prime minister for no apparent reason and in a way that could damage the State of Israel."

In another response to Diskin's remarks, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called the comments "crude and inappropriate," adding, "If those are his views he should have said them in appropriate circles while in office."

"It's clear that the timing and style of the comments is motivated by personal interests, not the issues at hand," Katz said.

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