Israel ex-spy chief blasts PM ahead of election
JERUSALEM (AP) - A prominent Israeli ex-intelligence chief sought to sway Israelis against Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections, saying in an interview published on Friday that the prime minister has mismanaged Israel's response to Iran's nuclear program and missed opportunities to make inroads on a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The interview by Yuval Diskin was an unusually strong and overt assault on a prime minister by a figure formerly from the security establishment, coming less than three weeks before the Jan. 22 election, in which polls predict Netanyahu will be reelected. The election campaign has hardly touched on security issues like the conflict with Iran or the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, focusing almost entirely on domestic issues.
Diskin, who ran Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency from 2005 to 2011, has been a vocal critic of Netanyahu. But his front-page interview to the daily Yediot Ahronot included his sharpest comments yet.
He accused Netanyahu of acting illegally by ordering the security apparatus to prepare for an attack on Iran before gaining former approval by the Cabinet of ministers. He also said Netanyahu squandered the gains made by Israel's security forces by not using a period of relative quiet over the past few years to move toward peace with the Palestinians.