A Channel 2 investigative report says that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the military and intelligence service to prepare for a military strike on Iran in 2010, but met stiff opposition from then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and then-Head of Mossad Meir Dagan.
While Dagan and Ashkenazi did not refuse orders, the report paints a worrisome picture in which some may see insubordination by the heads of the IDF and Mossad vis-à-vis the political echelon.
According to the program Uvda, Dagan and Ashkenazi were both present at a discussion in Jerusalem that was convened after a meeting of the "Septet" of government ministers trusted with sensitive matters.
Sources close to the two said that at the end of the discussion, when the two were already about to go out the door, Netanyahu shocked them by ordering that the security establishment be placed in "P Plus" mode – which refers to a preparatory state preceding an attack.
Ashkenazi and Dagan both objected and said that the decision was a hurried one and that it was reached without a discussion. Ashkenazi said that it is wrong to place the military in P Plus mode if there is no certainty that an attack will actually be carried out. Sources close to Ashkenazi told Channel 2 that if the military is placed in P Plus mode, there is a danger that war will result inadvertently.
People who were present at the discussion said that Dagan reacted even more strongly, and warned Netanyahu and Barak that they may be about to illegally order a war, because only the Cabinet may authorize war. He reportedly later said; "The prime minister and defense minister were trying to 'steal' a war."
Defense Minister Barak told Uvda that Ashkenazi said the army did not have operational capacity to carry out the attack. Ashkenazi reportedly denies this and says he made sure the military was ready – but "I also said that that attacking now would be a strategic mistake."
Barak denied that placing the military in P Plus mode means that one is necessarily going to war. "A chief of staff should build the operational capability," he said. "He should tell us, professionally, if it is doable or not and he can even add his recommendation, he should add it. But It can be done against his recommendation," he said.