Friday 18 January 2019

Netanyahu 'threatens Israel's future' - ex-Mossad chiefs

Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Reuters
Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Reuters

Dan Williams

Six former Israeli spymasters yesterday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of jeopardising the country's future as it prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding next month.

The surviving ex-Mossad chiefs voiced their opinion of the fourth-term, right-wing leader in a joint interview in 'Yedioth Ahronoth', Israel's best-selling newspaper and a regular Netanyahu critic.

Mr Netanyahu had no immediate response, but a senior member of his governing coalition brushed off the censure.

Danny Yatom, who headed Mossad during Netanyahu's first stint in office in the late 1990s, called for him to be ousted, accusing him and aides of "putting their interests ahead of national interests" as corruption investigations deepen.

Police have questioned Mr Netanyahu over his alleged dealings with the country's largest telecommunication company, one of three cases weighing on his political future. Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and opinion polls show his popularity is still high.

Yatom also voiced concern about "the inertia in the diplomatic sphere, which is leading us toward a bi-national state (with the Palestinians), which would spell the end of a Jewish and democratic state".

Negotiations over a "two-state solution" to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014. Some argue if Israel fails to quit occupied territory, it could one day face a choice between remaining a democracy or securing a Jewish majority by denying the Palestinians voting rights.

Figures cited by Israeli officials showed the number of Jews and Arabs between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River - territory encompassing Israel, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip - is at or near parity.

"We have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren here, and I want them to live in a healthy country - and the country is sick," said Zvi Zamir, Mossad director from 1968 to 1974.

Irish Independent

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