Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed his deputy defense minister, Danny Danon (Likud) on Tuesday over public remarks that were blatantly critical of Netanyahu’s leadership.
“The prime minister is responsible for good or bad. If the result of the operation is negative, the responsibility for the failure is with the prime minister. There is no need to sugarcoat. Hamas decided when we started, when we will finish, and has set the score,” Danon said in an interview with Ynet.
“That is why I, as a senior member of Likud, say that this operation has been run as if Zehava Gal-On was the prime minister. This is Meretz policy.”
“I saw the compliments Netanyahu received from Gal-On and Yachimovich, everyone is clapping for the prime minister because of the feeble policy which is the policy of the left, of Meretz, and I am sorry because we promised somebody different.”
Netanyahu released a statement saying, “At a time when the government of Israel and the IDF are in the midst of a military campaign against the terrorist organizations and is taking determined action to maintain the security of Israel’s citizens, it cannot be that the Deputy Defense Minister will sharply attack the leadership of the country regarding the campaign.
“These sharp remarks … are irresponsible, especially given his position. They also serve the Hamas terrorist organization as a tool to attack the government with; as may be seen on the media networks of Hamas itself. In light of his remarks, which express a lack of confidence in the government and in the prime minister personally, it was expected that the Deputy Defense Minister would take responsibility for his actions and resign.” Since he had not done so, the PM said that had no choice but to remove him from his position.
Danon has not been the only senior official to dispute the government’s handling of the security crisis. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Avigdor Lieberman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett have also expressed dissatisfaction. But Danon took a more offensive tone, Netanyahu aides said. They also admitted that firing Lieberman or Bennett would mean deconstructing his coalition, and that this was not the case with Danon.
Danon was defiant in response, saying that he would not fall into line with what he called “the spirit of leftist feebleness of the prime minister” and “would not sell out his ideology for an office and a driver.”