Netanyahu and Barak Meet After Tense Week
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met for an hour and a half on Saturday night and discussed Barak’s recent meetings in the U.S., which were made without Netanyahu’s approval and consent.
Channel 2 News quoted a statement on behalf of both which Barak’s office published after the meeting and which read, “The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister spoke last night for about an hour and a half. The Defense Minister sees eye to eye with the Prime Minister the ways of dealing with the Iranian threat in all its aspects, as well as the handling of relations with the United States led by the Prime Minister. The two agreed to continue to cooperate over the security challenges facing Israel.”
The meeting comes in the wake of the growing tension between the two over the past week. Netanyahu claimed that Barak is trying to spark conflict between Israel and the United States.
During a meeting between the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Netanyahu revealed signs of mistrust and conflict between himself and his defense minister, saying Barak went to the U.S. to stir up trouble, with intentions of returning to Israel as the hero who stood up to Obama and the rest of Washington.
Netanyahu's associates later accused Barak of not coordinating with Netanyahu a meeting he held with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, a close associate of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Barak's office claimed that the meeting, which took place when Barak was on a working visit in the United States, was approved by the Prime Minister and was not kept from him.
In addition, reported Channel 2, officials in the Likud expressed their outrage following reports that Barak met with former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni in New York. The Likud officials believe that the purpose of their meeting was to examine the possibility of future cooperation, especially in light of reports that Livni is planning to return to the political arena in the upcoming election.
Barak’s office confirmed that the meeting had taken place at a public place at Livni’s request.
Meanwhile on Saturday, more and more members of the Knesset called for Barak to be ousted for his recent behavior.