Israeli officials have roundly criticized ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan for calling a possible attack on Iran "a stupid idea," saying such remarks undermine Israel’s ability of prowess.
"Any ability to disperse the ambiguousness surrounding the issue of Iran hurts Israel’s standing against Iran,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during an interview with Israel Radio.
He added that the military option against Iran must remain on the table.
Analysts say the remarks signal growing Internal rifts in Israel over its confrontation with Iran.
Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said on Sunday, "There is much to his [Dagan’s] credit but he failed in the things that he said especially when Israel is trying to create a certain impression towards Iran."
Israel’s Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said an indictment against Dagan should be considered, adding that he should not have made the comments whether they were correct or not.
"If someone came out of a cabinet meeting and discussed Israel’s capabilities or lack thereof, he would be indicted for compromising national security…His statements harm the people who stood behind him. Perhaps it would have been better to just keep his mouth shut," Hershkowitz said.
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also criticized the former Mossad chief.
"I remember Dagan at the beginning of his career when he was firmly opposed to the chatter of former defense establishment officers. Practice what you preach, and he should practice," he said.
Addressing the Hebrew University last month, Dagan publicly argued against an airstrike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
He described the possibility of a future Israeli airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”
Dagan noted that any military strike may prompt a regional war and missile attacks from several fronts on Israel, adding that any attack on Iran would have no advantage for Tel Aviv.
In May, a source close to prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Israeli jet fighters had conducted drills at a military base in Iraq in order to strike targets inside Iran.
According to the report, a considerable number of Israeli warplanes, including F-15, F-16, F-18, F-22, and KC-10 jet fighters, were seen at al-Asad Airbase — the second largest US military airbase in Iraq located in Anbar Province.
The report said that Iraqi officials had not been notified about the drills conducted in collaboration with the US military.
Iranian officials have stressed that any act of aggression by the US and Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities would meet a firm response, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.