Daily Israel Report

Likud Minister: Barak Left Us High and Dry on Iran

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon: defense minister put Israel on a tree, and made a last-minute escape. Barak: he has 'primaritis'.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/13/2012, 8:03 PM

Moshe Yaalon
Moshe Yaalon
Israel News photo: Flash 90

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon (Likud) accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak Saturday of preferring his own political fortune over Israel's security in the matter of Iran.

Speaking at a public panel in Ramat Hen, the former IDF chief of staff said: "The Prime Minister thought that the defense minister was with him all the way on the subject of Iran, and in the end, the defense minister put the state of Israel on the tree, then made a last minute escape and went on to present himself as a moderate."

Early last month, Israeli reporters and pundits noticed a sudden shift in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's rhetoric on Iran, and there were reports that the IDF had changed its posture to a more relaxed one, after several weeks of high alert. Pundits were quick to accuse Barak of withdrawing his support for a strike, leaving Netanyahu high and dry, lacking the political backing he needed to carry out a strike on Iran.

Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) was quick to accuse Ehud Barak of "stinging" the prime Finance minister on the matter of Iran.

Yaalon's accusation is probably the most explicit one on the subject to date. He called Barak's behavior "unacceptable."

"One does not do things like this," he said. "Making security interests subordinate to political interests is an unacceptable act."

Yaalon said that military action vis-à-vis Iran should be the last option. Citing Iran's current economic woes and new European sanctions, he estimated that Iran's nuclear project could be stopped without military action, but explained that the U.S.'s posture did not convince the Iranians that the West is willing "to go all the way" if need be. 

Barak responded acerbically to Yaalon's accusations Saturday evening, saying that Yaalon "has contracted 'primaritis' – a disease that strikes members of Likud before the primaries."

The condition "brings him to utter pathetic statements, and that is too bad," said Barak. "He is pandering to Likud members."