Mossad Deputy Head Blasts Netanyahu's Handling of Iran and COVID

Outgoing deputy, who designed Mossad's coronavirus plan, says like Netanyahu's Iran policy, Israeli COVID response looks good from the outside but strategy is lacking

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Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem last December.
Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem last December.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

An outgoing deputy Mossad head blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the coronavirus crisis in an interview due to be published in Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday.

The former deputy, identified only as A., spent 34 years in the Mossad, and was head of the famed Caesarea special-operations division, according to Yedioth. He was, among other things, at the helm during Israel's ambitious operation to steal secret nuclear documents from Iran in 2018.

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In December, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen chose another one of his deputies, identified as D., to succeed him. A., who was not chosen for the position, resigned.

A. was responsible for the Mossad's plan to combat the coronavirus, but his plan was cut short at the last moment, Yedioth reported. He compared Israel's handling of the coronavirus crisis to the country's management of the Iranian nuclear threat, characterizing both as ineffective.

"The bottom line is there was bad management. I saw bad management," A. told the newspaper.

A vaccination drive in Jerusalem, last month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

"Compare the coronavirus crisis to the handling of Iranian nuclear proliferation. When you look at what happened since Israel pushed to cancel the nuclear deal, at the amount of uranium that Iran has accumulated since, its regional spread, it's terrible. But how were the operations we completed along the way? They were excellent," A. said.

"They're doing the same thing with the coronavirus. Soon we'll have 6,000 dead, but how was that vaccine drive? Awesome, no?" He concluded, "That's not success."

A. told Yedioth Ahronoth that Israel is in a worse position today than when the nuclear deal was signed. "They didn't stop Iran's regional takeover for a moment, they're building missiles… we made a bad deal."

A. also criticized Netanyahu's approach to the Obama administration, saying it was "completely nationalistic," and arguing that Netanyahu's all or nothing attitude compromised his ability to limit Iranian nuclear proliferation.

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