While the Mossad is very careful not to appear to contradict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position on Iran, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has no qualms about criticizing the prime minister.
"Netanyahu's position will not change the West's position on the Iranian issue, but his actions bring our relationship with the Americans to an extreme point and this might extract an unbearable price from us in the future," Dagan said during an event at the Tel Aviv Museum on Wednesday.
The former spy agency chief was asked about Netanyahu's trip to Washington to speak in front of Congress and on whether it was integral to preventing a bad deal with Iran. "It has nothing to do with it," he said. "The Americans are already aware of Netanyahu's position. I don't think that if he goes and speaks it'll change Obama's mind. I don't think he'll change Congress' position either."
When asked why the prime minister decided to go to the US, Dagan said: "This isn't the only question I would ask about Netanyahu. I always ask whether the prime minister's position could change the West's position on the Iranian issue - their opinion reflects their views and I don't think his position will matter."
Dagan was the head of Mossad when Ariel Sharon was prime minister, and drew a comparison between the two prime ministers' approaches.
"Sharon had arguments with the US but it never leaked to the public. It was done with diplomatic sophistication. Netanyahu causes provocation and makes sure it's done publicly. Sharon had big confrontations with the Americans, but quietly, and that led to a solution."
When Netanyahu became prime minister, "Netanyahu asked me, 'why don't you indulge me? You're my subordinate.' I told him I'm his subordinate but loyal to the state. The education I had was different than what he did. He was educated in politics, I was educated in the army. I thought his position was problematic, but I didn't disobey him."
Sharon, meanwhile, "never demanded that I indulged him, he demanded I expressed my opinion and he was tolerant," Dagan said.
Dagan was asked if the agreement being negotiated with Iran is bad, keeping in mind that Israel and the Mossad under his leadership were unable to stop Tehran's nuclear program.
"They don't have nuclear (weapons) yet," he said. "I think if Israel decides to attack, it is capable of it. The question is what happens five minutes after. I think it's a mistake. Using violence against them is the last resort."
He said what's missing from the agreement coming into shape is punitive measures to be taken against Iran if it fails to honor the agreement.
He continued criticizing the Netanyahu government's policies. "I don't trust the prime minister. He and Bennett are leading us to a bi-national state and disaster. I don't want to have Second Class Citizens."
Despite that, he said that after the Yom Kippur War he no longer fears for the future of Israel. "I think that if we got through that, despite the heavy price, we'll withstand anything."