Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin.
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin. Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak Saturday, at an open forum in Kfar Saba.

"I have no confidence in the present leadership, which may have to lead us to an event on the scale of a war with Iran or a regional war," he said.

"The present leadership is messianic," he said. "Our two messiahs – the one from Caesarea and the one from the Akirov Towers [Netanyahu has a residence in Caesarea, and Barak lived in Tel Aviv's Akirov Towers until recently – ed.] – are unfit to hold the reins of power. They give the public a false picture on the Iran question. They create the feeling that if Israel does not act, Iran will have a nuclear bomb, even though experts think that an attack on Iran will cause it to speed up the process of arming with nuclear weapons." It was unclear what he meant by "messianic", but possibly the word he intended was "apocalyptic".

Diskin also attacked Netanyahu for not doing enough, in his opinion, to move forward on negotiations with the Palestinian Authority [PA]. He said that it is possible to reach an agreement with the PA that will be good for both sides, and warned that if there is no diplomatic solution, violence will erupt. "There are gasoline fumes in the air and the question is, when will there be a spark," he said.

Diskin also said that "there are dozens of Jews who are willing to use firearms against other Jews," and that while any extremism is damaging, right wing fanaticism is more violent than left-wing fanaticism.

His words gave rise to speculations on whether he is planning his political future, possibly in Kadima, now that Shaul Mofaz has become its head.