Ex-Israeli Spymaster: Leaders 'Messianic'

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Common Dreams

Ex-Israeli Spymaster: Leaders 'Messianic'

Says Israel More and More Racist, Belligerent

by
Common Dreams staff

Yuval Diskin and "Messianic" Netanyahu upon Diskin completing his term as head of the Israeli spy agency Shin Bet in May, 2011.

The former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of having "messianic feelings" behind their threats to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran and they should not be trusted.

"I don't have faith in the current leadership of Israel to lead us to an event of this magnitude, of war with Iran," Yuval Diskin said at a public meeting Friday, video of which was posted on the Internet the today and quickly became the lead news item in Israel.

"I do not believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on Messianic feelings," he continued. "I have seen them up close. They are not messiahs, these two, and they are not the people that I personally trust to lead Israel into an event."

Diskin said, "Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also becoming a more belligerent society."

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Reuters reports:

JERUSALEM - A former Israeli spymaster has branded the country's leaders unfit to tackle the Iranian nuclear program because of what he called the "messianic feelings" behind their threats to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran.

Other veterans have come out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently, but the criticism from former domestic intelligence chief Yuval Diskin was especially strong.

"I have no faith in the prime minister, nor in the defense minister," Diskin, who stepped down as head of the Shin Bet a year ago, said in a speech partly broadcast by Israel Radio on Saturday.

"I really don't have faith in a leadership that makes decisions out of messianic feelings." [...]

Diskin's remarks came days after Israel's military chief, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, said Iran was "very rational" and unlikely to build a bomb in the face of world opposition, apparently undermining the case for a strike.

By using the language of religious fervor that Israelis usually associate with Islamist foes, Diskin appeared even more damning of Netanyahu and Barak, who have often crafted strategy alone and whose relationship dates back to service in an elite commando unit four decades ago.

The former head of Israel's Mossad foreign intelligence service, Meir Dagan, has ridiculed the idea of a strike on Iran.

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Israel's Ha'aretz reports:

"Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also become a more belligerent society."[...] "Believe me, I have observed them from up close... They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off. These are not people who I would want to have holding the wheel in such an event," Diskin said.

"They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won't have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race," said the former security chief.

In March, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan also spoke out publicly against a military option on Iran, telling CBS' 60 Minutes that an Israeli attack would have "devastating" consequences for Israel, and would in any case be unlikely to put an end to the Iranian nuclear program.

Regarding relations between Israeli Jews and other groups, Diskin said, "Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also become a more belligerent society."

Diskin also said he believed another political assassination, like that of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 by a Jewish extremist, could occur in the future. "Today there are extremist Jews, not just in the territories but also inside the Green Line, dozens of them who, in a situation in which settlements are evacuated… would be willing to take up arms against their Jewish brothers."

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