JERUSALEM (JTA) – Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak called Benjamin Netanyahu “weak” in recordings aired on an Israeli news channel.
“Bibi is weak, he doesn’t…he doesn’t want to take tough steps unless he is forced to do so,” Barak said in the recordings aired on Sunday on Israel’s Channel 2.
“Bibi himself is immersed in a kind of deep pessimism and has a tendency … in the balance between fear and hope, he prefers, generally, to err on the side of fear. He once referred to it as ‘worried,’” Barak said.
The recordings are the latest in a series of interviews with Barak that have come to light in recent days. In a recording aired Friday, Barak said he and Netanyahu wanted to order an Israel Air Force attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi stopped them in 2010, saying the Israeli military was not prepared. Later, Barak said, Moshe Ya’alon, now the defense minister, and Yuval Steinitz, then finance minister and now the minister of energy, objected.
In a statement released Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office said: “It is time to stop this irresponsible talk on matters relating to national security. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to act responsibly and aggressively on behalf of Israel’s security and its citizens, not burying his head in the sand, pointing out the dangers and threats and acting firmly and decisively.”
Earlier Sunday, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair Tzachi Hanegbi of the Likud Party said he planned to call on the military censor to explain why Channel 2 was permitted to broadcast the recordings involving plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.