Ehud Olmert
Ehud OlmertFlash 90

Officials close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday evening criticized former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who attacked Netanyahu for airing his objection to the deal reached by world powers last week on Iran's nuclear program.

"Not everyone has experience as a continuous failure like Olmert does in the disengagement and the Second Lebanon War,” said the officials. “If we do not talk about the Iranian issue with the international community, what will we discuss with it?”

“Does Olmert expect us to send faxes to Washington about the Iranian issue?” they added.

Olmert, who spoke Sunday evening at a public debate at the Institute for National Security Studies, accused Netanyahu of having “declared war on the Obama administration.”

"We must steer clear of anything that would give the impression that we want to lock horns with our biggest ally,” he added.

MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), who spoke before Olmert at the same event, fired back at the former prime minister on Monday, telling Army Radio that Olmert had taken advantage, for political needs, of a discussion at a professional venue that was supposed to focus on the deal struck with Iran at Geneva.

"He spoke only about one thing, as if we have one enemy, Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Hanegbi said. “It is too bad that he wasted such an important and meaningful event on personal matters against the prime minister.”

"His belief is not new,” added Hanegbi. “He believes that Israel should be the lowly slave of the United States.”

Netanyahu himself, though he did not mention Olmert by name, responded to the criticism at a Hanukkah candle-lighting in Rome on Sunday evening.

"In contrast to others, when I see that interests vital to the security of Israel's citizens are in danger, I will not be silent,” declared Netanyahu.

“It is very easy to be silent. It is very easy to receive a pat on the shoulder from the international community, to bow one's head, but I am committed to the security of my people. I am committed to the future of my state and in contrast to periods in the past, we have a loud and clear voice among the nations and we will sound it in time in order to warn of the danger,” he added.