Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: Gaby Menashe
MK Avshalom Vilan
Photo: Gaby Menashe
Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Effie Eitam
Photo: Gil Yohanan

MKs furious at Netanyahu

Comments by opposition leader on reported IDF operation in Syria prompt harsh criticism from Knesset members. ‘Bibi blabbered himself senseless’ one MK says. Meanwhile, Likud MKs claim attacks on Netanyahu are a media spin

Israel’s politicians were shocked and angered Wednesday by Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s “slip of the tongue” regarding the reported IDF operation in Syria last week.


In an interview with Channel 1 news, Netanyahu said he had been informed about the reported IDF operation in Syria "from the start", and added that he supported the prime minister’s decision to take such action.


Netanyahu was the first Israeli official to break the silence and admit that the overflight in Syria took place.


Cabinet secretary Oved Yehezkel contacted government ministers directly after Natanyahu’s interview, and instructed them not to comment on his statement. So far, every minister has adamantly followed Yehezkel’s instruction.


However, several Knesset members have criticized Netanyahu’s acknowledgement of the overfilght.


“Netanyahu’s uncontrollable desire to take credit for accomplishments proves, and not for the first time, that he puts his personal interest ahead of the State’s. Netanyahu pulled a Bibi, he blabbered himself senseless,” said MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor).


MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad) also criticized the opposition leader, saying it surprised him that he did not know how to “keep his mouth shut”.


Vilan referred to a time when he and Netanyahu served in the IDF together, and said the opposition leader “certainly knew how to hold his tongue” back then.


“It seems that television interviews make him crazy, and make him say things that even her regrets later,” Vilan said.


MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said “even at the price of compromising national security”, Netanyahu would do anything to make it look like he was “in the loop about one operation or another”.


“We’re very familiar with Bibi’s fairytales, and soon he’ll probably say that he also flies planes in such operations and others. It’s dangerous to entrust Netanyahu with State secrets,” Hasson said.


Yet, the opposition leader received support from an unlikely source, when MK Effie Eitam (National Union-National Religious) said, “Netanyahu’s statement did not compromise Israel’s security, and Olmert’s office would do good to consider the prime minister’s opinions and comments during the Second Lebanon War and after it.”


'Attacks on Netanyahu a media spin'  

Some of Netanyahu's associates also rejected the criticism against him


“No one will teach Netanyahu about the security of Israel. Not Pines-Paz, not Cabel, and not Hasson will preach to Netanyahu about security issues, certainly not after the great things he did for Israel’s security during his tenure as prime minister,” his aides said.


Likud MK Limor Livnat claimed that the attacks on Netanyahu were a "media spin created by the prime minister and his aides and aimed at distracting the public's attention from Olmert's plan to divide Jerusalem and relinquish the Temple Mount."


Likud MK Gilad Erdan stated that "there's not one person in the country who doesn't know there has been a strike, and the Prime Minister' Office has not once denied foreign reports about it… the criticism against Netanyahu constitutes political incitement motivated by preparations for future elections." 


Ronny Sofer contributed to this article


פרסום ראשון: 09.20.07, 10:57
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