Barak goes on offensive against Olmert’s ‘gang’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the recent spate of criticism by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s "gang" on a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure has caused "damage" to Israel.

Barak slammed his critics in an extensive interview with the daily Israel Hayom newspaper to be published Friday, according to a report in Thursday’s paper.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet security agency chief Yuval Diskin saying recently that Barak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were not fit to lead the country through the Iranian threat serves "Iran and the groups it controls," the defense chief said.

Diskin said in a speech last week that the judgment of  Barak and Netanyahu was clouded by  "messianic feelings" and that he had "no faith" in their leadership. Dagan criticized the Israeli government’s threats against Iran during the Jerusalem Post Conference. Olmert called on the government to wait for sanctions to work instead of launching an attack. 

Barak told Israel Hayom that Olmert and his supporters "travel all over the world, and their remarks serve to weaken the not-inconsequential achievement of Israeli policy, which has turned the Iranian nuclear threat into an important and urgent issue, not only for Israel but for the world at large."

"There are things that cannot be discussed in an open forum without the mere discussion causing damage to the issue,” Barak said.

Olmert responded to reports of the interview in a statement from his office.

Barak, the ex-prime minister said, "will surely soon disappear from the Israeli political map," and leave in his wake "great damages that harm the state’s security and every Israeli citizen must be alarmed."

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