Daily Israel Report

Olmert: Netanyahu Treats Obama like 'Retarded Student'

Olmert attacks Netanyahu in new interview, accuses him of treating Obama ‘like a retarded student.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/22/2013, 9:39 AM

Ehud Olmert (right)
Ehud Olmert (right)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attacked his successor, current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a new interview published by Globes.

Among other things, Olmert slammed Netanyahu over his relationship with United States President Barack Obama.

“What is this? You go to the President of the United States, stick a finger in his face on live television, preach to him, and while you’re at it, give him a history lesson?” he said.

“Excuse me, with all due respect, he learned something in life, this president,” Olmert continued. “He’s a graduate of universities no worse than those you learned in; he’s an educated man, a cultured man. What are you doing, treating him like a retarded student in front of the entire world, on live television in the Oval Office?”

Netanyahu “is not worthy of being Prime Minister,” Olmert concluded.

The interview comes just weeks after Olmert strongly criticized Netanyahu during an event at Haifa University. Olmert called for higher taxes on the wealthy and for cuts to defense, and accused the Netanyahu administration of “wasting” the defense budget.

He dismissed arguments from government officials who were present that Netanyahu succeeded in bringing Israel through the global economic crisis in relatively good shape. According to Olmert, it was his own finance minister, Ronnie Bar-On, who knew how to deal with economic challenges.

He also slammed Netanyahu over the impasse in talks with the Palestinian Authority. “This government has refused peace and refused negotiations for four years,” he accused.

Netanyahu has invited PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to talk with no preconditions, but Abbas has insisted on several Israeli concessions prior to negotiations, including a complete construction freeze east of the 1949 armistice line and the release of terrorist prisoners. During Olmert’s term, Abbas agreed to speak to Israel without any of his current preconditions having been fulfilled.