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      Dagan: Leaders Unaware of Threats Israel Faces

      Former Mossad chief hints Israeli leaders are unaware of the security threats faced by the Jewish State.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/4/2012, 5:46 AM

      Meir Dagan
      Meir Dagan
      Flash 90

      Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan once again on Tuesday criticized the Israeli political leadership, hinting that Israel’s leaders are not really aware of the security threats faced by the Jewish State.

      Dagan, who spoke at a conference on the subject of intelligence at IDC Herzliya, was quoted by Channel 10 News as saying, “I was in the IDF General Staff for several years, and they have war games once every few years. I tried to remember when I last saw a defense minister or a prime minister taking part in these exercises. I do not remember. They never even sent a minister. These exercises are used to discuss key questions underlying Israel’s security, but nobody ever came.”

      The former Mossad chief also related to the threats facing Israel and said, “I think Israel needs an intelligence advantage, because without it, it would be impossible for it to take risks. The State of Israel faces some challenges that only major powers face.”

      “There is the threat of war, there is the challenge of the stability of the region, we have terrorist threats that have accompanied us since the State was founded and have evolved into non-conventional threats,” Dagan added, noting that the IDF is preparing to respond to war on three different fronts.

      Dagan also referred to the threat from Iran and said, “The Iranian issue seems like a new issue, but it is not new. We have been dealing with it since the late nineties. The State of Israel recognized Iran's nuclear progress in 1997.”

      Since he left office, Dagan has spared no criticism from Israeli politicians. In June, he said the Netanyahu government’s policies on Iran are irresponsible, and publicly warned against attacking Iran. He said that an aerial attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities would be a “dumb idea, the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”

      The Prime Minister’s Office subsequently threatened to confiscate his diplomatic passport because of his remarks.

      He later said that Israel’s system of government needs an overhaul, adding senior officials were seeking to silence his opposition to striking Iran's nuclear program.

      Dagan also said he planned to lead a movement pushing to reform Israel's system of government.

      He sharply criticized the deal Israel made with Hamas to release 1,027 terrorists in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

      Calling the deal “problematic” and saying “there are quite a few risks” in it, Dagan also said the celebrations around Shalit’s return had been excessive.