Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz over the diplomatic crisis surrounding Russia's moves to liquidate the Jewish Agency.

Netanyahu said: "We are in the midst of a dangerous crisis in relations between Russia and Israel. It is possible and necessary to get out of this crisis. For years we have led a balanced and responsible relationship with Russia.

"In the last few days I have become worried that what we have built for years is crumbling right before our eyes over the last few weeks. This happens because of a combination of amateurism, irresponsibility, and arrogance. I have one request of Lapid and Gantz - stop the shouting. Your conduct endangers our national security. If the crisis is not stopped immediately, it may lead to serious damage to our security,'' the opposition leader warned.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Lapid said in response to Netanyahu's words: "The issue is being handled by the Israeli government. As Putin's personal spokesman said today, there is no crisis between the countries. If Netanyahu had bothered to come to Prime Minister Lapid for a security policy update, Netanyahu would have learned the facts."

"Since he did not come for an update, we hereby convey to him that for the benefit of the security of the State of Israel and Russian Jewry, this is an issue that must be handled discreetly and through government channels and not with press conferences and baseless statements to the media," he said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in response to Netanyahu's words: "The Israeli government conducts itself with responsibility and determination in order to protect the interests of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The last person who should talk about unnecessary squabbling on security issues is Netanyahu.''