Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Deputy Environmental Protection Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) sharply criticized former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Sunday, after the latter smeared Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a leftist rally with some 30,000 in attendance Saturday night. 

According to Akunis, Dagan's statements are the height of ingratitude. 

"On a personal level, I call on him [Dagan] to thank the Prime Minister for saving his life when he underwent some surgery," Akunis fired, speaking on Army Radio's "Good Morning Israel" show.

Akunis may have been referring to Dagan's liver transplant in Belarus in 2012, during which terror groups issued "non-specific" threats against the former Mossad chief. Israeli officials from the Netanyahu government increased security around Dagan's Minsk hospital bed until he could recover and return home. 

"As a Jew, I believe in showing gratitude." 

"If someone had saved my life, I would never imagine launching such a virulent attack against him in public or in private," he continued. "As an Israeli, if someone had saved my life, I would have thanked him until my dying day." 

Akunis also expressed skepticism that Dagan penned his own speech, citing his passage about "fear" and how he allegedly fears the government more than Israel's enemies. 

"The speech was obviously written by some advertising agency, because the phrases he used are similar to the phrases used by the leftist parties in Israel," he opined.

"I understand that Meir Dagan changed his views after he did not receive an extension in his post as Mossad chief," he added. "What he said yesterday is personal and not ideological."

Akunis's accusations follow Likud's claim late Saturday that the rally was sponsored by leftist foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Earlier on Saturday, MK Yariv Levin (Likud) blasted Dagan for his comments at the rally, saying that Dagan’s “irresponsible chatter causes great damage to national security.”

"Dagan's politically motivated acts of hatred are clear and his hatred for the Prime Minister has long blinded his ability to see reality," said Levin.

"The damage is even worse when Dagan's dangerous statements are fully exploited by Iranian propaganda to condemn Israel," he added.