As Israel’s March 17 election approaches, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu responded to the recent wave of criticism directed at him by Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad spy agency. In an interview with Israel Hayom published Thursday, Netanyahu said Israel’s security “cannot be founded on delusions.”
Dagan, in a recent interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television network, called it “[garbage]” that Netanyahu told Congress on March 3 that Iran’s breakout time for a nuclear weapon is less than a year. Dagan also disagreed with Netanyahu on the global threat posed by Iranian missiles, saying those missiles “will never be able to hit the United States.” In a subsequent anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, Dagan said of the prime minister, “We have a leader who fights only one campaign-the campaign for his own political survival.”
Netanyahu told Israel Hayom, “I don’t understand how Dagan, who cursed me and insulted me, asked twice to serve as Mossad director under me. I approved his first request, and rejected his second, and perhaps as a result of that he is coming after me for personal reasons. Of course I don’t agree with his left-wing agenda. He was wrong when he forecast that the Muslim Brotherhood would not seek the leadership of Egypt. In the end, not only did they seek it, they succeeded in achieving it. My job as prime minister is to lead the country in a sober manner. People who supported [the] Oslo [Accords] haven’t sobered up yet and still believe their own delusions. Security cannot be founded on delusions.”
The prime minister said his famous address at Bar-Ilan University in 2009, which marked his first call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was no longer relevant.
“The reality has shifted,” Netanyahu said. “Today, every territory that we evacuate will be taken over by radical Islamists under the auspices of Iran. That is what happened when we pulled out of Lebanon and it is what happened when we evacuated Gaza, and we must not allow it to happen in Judea and Samaria as well. That is why there will not be any evacuations.”
Netanyahu said his next government would neither release Palestinian prisoners nor freeze construction in Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice line (Green Line).