Netanyahu and Barak ‘risking our entire country’ with Iran strike plan, warns judge who probed Second Lebanon War failures

How do you know that only 500 Israelis would be killed?, asks Eliyahu Winograd, calling talk of attack ‘the highest degree of irresponsibility’

Former Supreme Court justice Eliyahu Winograd in 2007 at a press conference (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Former Supreme Court justice Eliyahu Winograd in 2007 at a press conference (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Former Supreme Court justice Dr. Eliyahu Winograd on Sunday lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for “irresponsible” talk about an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Winograd headed the eponymous 2008 Commission that harshly criticized government unpreparedness and the IDF’s tactical and logistical failures against Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

He said in an Army Radio interview that he did not believe that the current government has implemented the findings of the report and therefore, in the context of tackling Iran’s drive to the bomb, “we are all in big trouble.”

“All the heads of the security establishment, of the Shin Bet and the Mossad, past and present, they all say do not attack,” Winograd said. “Are only Barak and Netanyahu to decide?”

He added bitterly: “Netanyahu said, ‘I take responsibility [for the consequences of an Israeli strike at Iran, should I order it]. If there is a screw-up it is my fault.’ That’s very comforting to me…that solves my problem?”

“If we attack,” Winograd continued, “Iran is likely not only to fire missiles — and it has the means to do so — at strategic points in Israel, but Hezbollah will have an opportunity to help Iran, as well as Hamas from Gaza and Sinai. In brief, we expect a rain of missiles from all directions, and I do not know whether the home front is prepared. We see press reports that the home front is far from ready.”

“Netanyahu is angry at those who talk a lot,” he added, “but he does that better than anyone… You intend to act? Decide in secret if you attack, and decide to attack [and] attack! But what’s with all the talking? The Iranians will be able to prepare more missiles aimed directly at us.”

Winograd, who the radio report noted no longer has access to classified material or intelligence reports, indicated that an Iran strike might permanently damage Israel. “You are going to risk our entire country, all that we have built, both physically and economically,” he said.

He also lambasted Barak’s oft-quoted assessment that no more than 500 Israelis would die from the resulting rocket fire if Israel attacked Iran. “You counted? You know?” Winograd said cynically. “I don’t know what their considerations are [in making that assessment]. It’s the highest degree of irresponsibility.”

Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz concurred with Winograd, according to Army Radio. He said he agreed with Winograd’s analysis of the situation and also opposed a strike on Iran. “Judge Winograd joins a long list of significant people using their influence against an irresponsible decision being considered by Netanyahu and Barak. His assessment is rock solid.”

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