Ex-Shin Bet chief Diskin: Netanyahu untrustworthy on Iran


(JTA) — Yuval Diskin, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, said he distrusts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motives in dealing with the Iranian threat.

“I and my colleagues were not confident of the ability of Netanyahu and Barak to lead a move on Iran,” Diskin said, also referring to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in  remarks published Friday by Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot. “We distrusted their motives. We feared they would carry out rushed moves and all sorts of tricks that would get us into trouble as a country out of irrelevant consideration or in illegitimate ways.”

He added, “In one meeting of a very small group, we got the feeling that [they] were trying to steal something from under the radar.”

Diskin, who led the Shin Bet for six years until 2011, also publicly criticized Netanyahu and Barak last year, saying at a conference that the two had a “messianic” attitude toward the Iranian threat. Last month, he advised Israeli voters to abstain in the elections by "putting a blank note in the voting ballot."

In the Yediot interview, he is also quoted as saying that Israel “upgraded Hamas” and “humiliated” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in recent weeks, adding, “We could have taken military steps that would have changed the situation, but Netanyahu and Barak are too weak.”

Diskin said that during one discussion about Iran, Barak and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman “smoked cigars in front of the whole forum as chefs in white hats were preparing a luxurious meal outside. I don’t know if I am successful in conveying how crazy this story is.”

The Prime Minister’s Bureau is quoted as saying that Diskin’s assertions were “false and coming from a person who until 18 months ago wanted to serve as the head of Mossad under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is now reiterating politically-motivated statements that owe to his personal frustration for not being made head of Mossad.”

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