Israel's Biggest Threat Is 'Nationalistic' Demon of Netanyahu, Former PM Barak Says

Barak also accused Netanyahu's and his ministers of being 'populists' who exploited massive fires to incite against Israeli Arabs.

Tzipi Livni, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.
David Bachar AFP , Moti Milrod

The greatest threat facing Israel today is the “nationalistic dybbuk” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders of the right, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday.

“The nationalist dybbuk of the leaders of the right, first and foremost Netanyahu, is the main threat to Israel’s future,” Barak said, speaking at a book launch for a book by Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit.

“The leaders of the right in the government, first and foremost Netanyahu, are afraid. And fear blinds the eye, locks down and paralyzes freedom of thought, closes the heart and nourishes unending feelings of victimhood.”

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Barak, who once served as Netanyahu’s defense minister, also accused Netanyahu and his ministers of exploiting the massive forest fires of the past week to incite against Israeli Arabs. “When you look at the political leadership, you see populists, people who see only black and white, and mainly black; people who see one thing and one thing only here, the ‘fire intifada’ ... Soon, a new ‘existential threat’ will spring up before our very eyes, of burning the people of Israel to death inside their houses in the heart of Israel.”

“Everyone agrees that we must deal with arsonists and those who incite to arson with an iron fist ... the full force of the law must be brought to bear on the arsonists and inciters of the past week,” he continued. “But they don’t represent Israeli Arabs or the Palestinian people.”

“In a broad, level-headed historical view, the fact that Jordanian and Egyptian planes came here with their crews to fight the fire, that firefighters from the Palestinian Authority worked alongside our firefighters to face the blazes, and that Israeli Arabs opened their doors to host Jewish families – these are the most important elements of the picture,” Barak added.