Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
has summoned Ehud Barak
for a meeting Saturday evening during which he is expected to reprimand the defense minister and "demand clarifications regarding Barak's uncoordinated talks
with American government officials, which contradicted the prime minister's instructions," an aide said.
The aide said that during the meeting at Netanyahu's Jerusalem
office, the PM is expected to tell Barak that "full coordination is required to ensure the security of Israel's citizens."
In a statement issued following the meeting, Barak said that he and Netanyahu "see eye-to-eye" on every aspect of the Iranian threat, as well as "the relationship with the United States under the Prime Minister's leadership."
The relationship between Netanyahu and Barak, who were very close, reached a boiling point after the PM learned from Ynet about the defense minister's secret meeting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
a few weeks ago.
Sources close to Netanyahu accused Barak of operating behind the premier's back and mentioned that the meeting was not coordinated with Netanyahu. Barak's office dismissed the allegations and said Netanyahu was aware of the meeting.
Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, is considered a close confidant of US President Barack Obama. Barak took a special flight to meet the mayor in Chicago, where the two discussed US-Israel relations, among other things.
A Barak associate said Saturday evening that Netanyahu would not reprimand the defense minister. "No one scolds the defense minister, not even the prime minister," he said.
"The defense minister will meet the prime minister at his request. Barak will continue to work for the people of Israel and for the country's security. He will continue to act according to his conscience in Israel and abroad," said the aide.
"Barak is convinced that his actions contribute to the government of Israel with regards to its relationship with the US."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz recently warned Netanyahu that Barak would "trick him on the budget issue." According to a source who was present at the meeting, the PM said in response: "Not only with regards to the budget. He traveled to the US to stoke the conflict between us and the Americans in order to come off as the savior – the moderate party that reconciles between the sides."