Israeli security and military commanders have criticised Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, accusing him of misleading the Israeli people on important policy issues.
Does this signal a rift between the prime minister and the country’s security establishment and how might it affect Netanyahu’s chances of re-election?
Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has become the latest member of the country’s security establishment to openly criticise Netanyahu.
He said Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, his defence minister, should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran and that attacking the Islamic Republic might accelerate Iran’s nuclear programme.
“I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defence minister,” Diskin said. “I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings.”
Diskin is not alone in his opposition to the prime minister.
In comments that contradict those of Netanyahu, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, Israel’s military chief of staff, told the Haaretz newspaper that he does not think Iran has already made a decision to build nuclear weapons.
“Iran is going step-by-step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb,” Gantz said. “It hasn’t decided yet whether to go the extra mile.”
Gantz added that he believes the Iranian leadership is composed of “very rational” people who will not take the risk of building a nuclear weapon.
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