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Former Shin Bet chief says he has ‘no faith’ in Israel’s leaders

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The judgment of Israeli leaders has been clouded by "messianic feelings" and they cannot be trusted to decide to launch a military strike on Iran, Israel’s former security chief said.

Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Shin Bet security agency, said in a speech last Friday that was posted on the Internet the following day that he had "no faith" in the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Barak and Netanyahu’s offices released a statement Saturday night saying that Diskin’s words were "irresponsible and motivated by personal frustration."

“I do not believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings,” Diskin said. “I have seen them up close. They are not messiahs, these two, and they are not the people that I personally trust to lead Israel into such an event.”

He added that an attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear program could lead to a "dramatic acceleration" of the Iran program.

Diskin also said that right-wing extremism in Israel is more violent than the extremism of the left and that an attempt to evacuate West Bank settlements could lead to the assassination of another prime minister.

"The Rabin assassination can repeat itself. There are extremist Jews within the Green Line as well, not only in the territories. It’s an optical illusion that they’re all in the territories," said Diskin.

He also condemned the government for not actively pursuing peace with the Palestinians.
 

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