Daily Israel Report

PM Calls Olmert's Accusations Bizarre and Irresponsible

In an interview on Army Radio, Netanyahu made it clear that Olmert's remarks against him were, "a bizarre, irresponsible thing to say."
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 1/13/2013, 9:47 AM

Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Flash 90

The Prime Minister has responded to attacks made by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who claimed that Binyamin Netanyahu wasted billions of shekels on military operations against Iran "which were not and will not be carried out," adding on to the criticism launched by the former head of the Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, who accused Netanyahu of spending money on "harebrained adventures that haven't, and won't, come to fruition."

In an interview which aired Sunday morning on Army Radio, Netanyahu made it clear that Olmert's remarks were, "a bizarre, irresponsible thing to say," adding, “We’ve done a lot to strengthen the IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet in various ways.”

"I'm not going to go into detail about our security expenses" Netanyahu said. "Israel must do all it can to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This was and will remain my number one task as prime minister, and whoever does not understand that it's the most serious threat to Israel cannot lead Israel," said the Prime Minister.

Netanyahu emphasized that any investment in the security of the Israeli people is not wasted money, and that Israel's military spending has led to the development of both offensive and defensive capabilities. He also said that the government has invested heavily in the security fence which stopped thousands of infiltrators from entering the country and the Iron Dome system which shot down hundreds of rockets during Operation Pillar of Defense and continues to prevent extensive damage and injuries which can result from rockets launched at Israeli cities.

Olmert's remarks came in response to Diskin's scathing criticism of the PM and followed statements by Netanyahu who once again pledged that stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would top his agenda if re-elected.

Former PM Olmert made the remarks in an interview on Channel 2, saying, "In the last two years, 11 billion shekels [$2.9 billion] were spent on operations which were not and will not be carried out. These figures go well beyond the multi-year budgets. We were told that 2012 was the decisive year. They managed to scare the entire world, but nothing was done in the end."

"If a man like Diskin, who has behaved responsibly during all his years of public service, reaches the conclusion that the Israeli public must know what's going on when their fates are being decided on, it is vital that he does so," Olmert said.