Coalition chairman MK David Bitan of Likud said Saturday there was “a problem” with officials heading Israel’s top security agencies, the Shin Bet and the Mossad, as they “become leftists” over time.
Bitan, speaking at a cultural event in Beersheba, told his audience: “Something happens to you over the years in these positions…over the years the heads of Shin Bet and Mossad become leftists.”
Bitan said the late Meir Dagan, who headed Mossad between 2002-2011 and became a fierce critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after leaving the job, “was an extreme rightist when he entered Mossad, but came out the opposite.”
He was likely also referring to former Shin Bet heads Yuval Diskin, Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon as well as former Mossad chiefs Shabtai Shavit, Danny Yatom and Efraim Halevy — all critics of Netanyahu and his policies vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a 2012 documentary titled “The Gatekeepers,” all six living former heads of the Shin Bet made plain their belief that an accommodation with the Palestinians is a security imperative for Israel.
Bitan also attacked former Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon, who left the Knesset in May after being ousted from his post and replaced with Avigdor Liberman, and has since attacked Netanyahu repeatedly.
“Who should we believe, Ya’alon of two months ago who said the prime minister was good, or Ya’alon of today?” he asked.
He added that Ya’alon was a problematic defense minister as “he was a ‘boosted’ chief of staff. We don’t need a defense minister who serves the army instead of the political system. There’s a problem with chiefs of staff who become defense ministers, they think it’s a position for life.”
Finally, Bitan brushed off criticism of the premier by former prime minister — and defense minister under Netanyahu — Ehud Barak, who recently said the current government endangers Israel’s future.
Barak, he said, “was a failed prime minister. He lives in New York and once in a while comes to Israel to say slanderous things.”