Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Wednesday evening once again verbally attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of sabotaging Israel’s relationship with the United States.
Speaking at an event in memory of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Dagan warned against Netanyahu and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett’s policies, saying they were dangerous to Israel.
"I do not trust the current leadership. The Prime Minister and Naftali Bennett are leading us to a binational state which is a disaster and dangerous to Zionism,” he charged. “The policies that they are leading are going in very problematic directions both in the field of the Palestinian problem as well as in our relations with our great friend, the United States. I admit that I am concerned.”
Dagan continued, "After I fought in the Yom Kippur War, I no longer feared for the existence of the State of Israel. We lost our best people, thousands. Back then I was sure we can withstand anything. I admit that today I have very serious concerns.”
Asked whether Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to Washington, in which he will address Congress, is essential to help prevent a bad agreement with Iran as Netanyahu has said, Dagan replied, “It has no connection whatsoever.”
“The Prime Minister’s position is known to the Americans. The Americans included us in many discussions. The Prime Minister’s position was clear. I do not think that if he comes and speak to Congress, it will change the President’s mind. I also do not think that it will change the opinion of Congress,” he continued.
Asked whether Israel should push the United States to impose more sanctions against Iran, Dagan replied, “Is the Prime Minister really able to change the position of the British, the Americans, the French, and the Germans on the Iranian issue? I think that their opinion is the result of discussions and very careful assessments of the situation and it reflects a perception which they lead. I do not think that the Prime Minister will be able to change their opinion in the slightest. On the contrary, he is acting against national security. Our most important asset is our relationship with the Americans. Netanyahu has brought it to a radicalization and they may charge us intolerable prices on the future.”
“Just a month ago the Palestinians were unable to pass a resolution in the Security Council,” he continued. “The Americans did not use the veto. Is there any chance that tomorrow the Americans might get back at us by not providing us with the protection of the veto? This provocation is too much and even when you provoke, you are better off to do it discreetly and quietly. Arik Sharon also had arguments with America. It never leaked to the public. Not only that, he got a letter from [former President] Bush. This was done through diplomatic sophistication.”
"It is wrong to attack Netanyahu about his wife or about his personality, but it is proper to attack his world view,” Dagan said, referring to recent accusations made by former employees against the Prime Minister’s wife.
Dagan has criticized Netanyahu’s policies several times over the years. Last year Dagan declared, contrary to Netanyahu’s statements, that Israel could survive without maintaining a presence in the Jordan Valley. Other experts have warned that Israel’s presence in the area is crucial.
He later dismissed Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) recognize Israel as a Jewish state as “nonsense”.
He previously said he does not believe a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat to Israel and also said the Netanyahu government’s policies on Iran are irresponsible, publicly warning against attacking Iran.
In one incident, he verbally confronted Minister Gilad Erdan during a conference in New York. The two were at odds over disparaging remarks to Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Barak that were made by former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin.