Ex-Mossad Chief Dagan: I Would Have Resigned if Netanyahu Ordered Iran Strike

In interview with Channel 10, Dagan endorses Herzog for PM: 'He is not just a fitting candidate, but the very best candidate.'

Moti Milrod

Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said Saturday night that he would have resigned if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

In his interview with Channel 10, Dagan said, "it was his fully within his authority to make such a decision, but I decided that I would resign at that moment."

In the interview, Dagan also showed the letter in which he requested to leave his post – responding to claims made by Netanyahu's associates that his criticism of the premier was due to personal reasons, after Netanyahu decided not to renew his tenure.

“It hurts me that the prime minister is not telling the truth. This is simply not true. I can show you a letter I wrote to the prime minister, that I sent him, and I asked to end my term.”

Dagan has granted several interviews over the last few weeks, criticizing Netanyahu's policies and behaviors, and headlined a left-wing rally in Tel Aviv last week, in which he said that Israel faces its worst crisis ever under Netanyahu's leadership.

Likud officials said of Dagan's speech that it was "strange that he now claims that he doesn't have faith in the current leadership, when he himself requested to extend his tenure as Mossad chief under the leadership of the prime minister.

In his resignation letter, presented on Channel 10, Dagan wrote: "Sir, as you know, I conclude my tenure on 1/1/11. I recommend that a candidate be chosen in the near future to take on the task of Mossad chief, so that we can properly prepare him and ensure that his entrance into the position be as smooth as possible. If you would like to consult with me about a candidate, I am happy to do so. As such, I am concluding 42 years in the service of the state. I did the best that I could. I want to thank you for the faith and support that I received from you, and to thank Mr. Ariel Sharon who appointed me to the position, and Mr. Ehud Olmert, under whom I worked. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family and all of Israel and good and blessed year. Respectfully, Meir Dagan."

During the interview with Channel 10, Dagan also expressed his support for Labor chief Isaac Herzog as prime minister: "In my eyes, he is not just a fitting candidate, but at this time, he seems to me to be the very best candidate to take on the role of prime minister."