Netanyahu Aides: Former Shin Bet Chief Attacked PM Out of Personal Vengeance

Officials close to PM, Defense Minister say scathing attack by Yuval Diskin is 'irresponsible,' 'petty,' and motivated by Netanyahu's unwillingness to name him Mossad chief.

Following a harsh attack by former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized Saturday the one-time security official, calling his comments "irresponsible" and petty."

Earlier in the day, comments made by Diskin during an event in his local town of Kfar Sava on Friday came to light. During the event, the former intelligence chief unleashed a scathing attack on Netanyahu and Barak, saying he had "no faith" in their leadership.

Yuval Diskin and Benjamin Netanyahu - Michal Fattal
Michal Fattal

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Diskin criticized Netanyahu and Barak on their bellicose stance on Iran, as well as on what he called the premier's unwillingness to advance peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

An official response from the two arrived late Saturday, leaving Likud ministers to fend for their party leader, with some accusing the former Shin Bet chief of acting from resentment and personal interests.

However, on Saturday evening, officials in both Netanyahu's and Barak's offices responded to the attack, with aides to the prime minister calling Diskin's comments "irresponsible and motivated by personal frustration."

Yuval Diskin - Ofer Vaknin - 28.2.2012
Ofer Vaknin

Netanyahu's aides added that the former Shin Bet chief made the remarks because he was frustrated for not having been named head of the Mossad by Netanyahu, and for the premier's decision to name Yoram Cohen the new Shin Bet chief, rather than a candidate backed by Diskin.

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In another response to the comments, Barak's aides said, "We congratulate Diskin for his entrance into political life. It's embarrassing and saddening to see the loosening of responsibility and judgment and the foul language used by a man who served the public for many years."

"Diskin is acting in a petty, irresponsible way, motivated by personal frustration. He's harming a heritage of generations of Shin Bet heads, as well as the organization's operational norms and values," Barak's aides added.