Netanyahu adjourns Iran security meeting over press leak
In a rare and dramatic move, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday adjourned the second part of a security cabinet meeting that began Tuesday and dealt with Iran, because of leaks to the press.
Netanyahu, according to a statement issued by his office, said at the outset of the meeting that "something grave happened shortly after the conclusion of the meeting yesterday: leaks from the security cabinet meeting."
Netanyahu convened the security cabinet on Tuesday for an annual meeting on the country's intelligence assessments, a meeting that dealt in depth with the Iranian issue.
Netanyahu said the security of the country rests on the ability of the security cabinet to hold classified and in-depth discussions where all the "facts, opinions and ramifications" are presented.
"This is basic tool for managing the country's security. Someone yesterday harmed in a grave manner the confidence that the citizens put in this body. He broke the basic rules governing discussions in the security-cabinet. He also harmed the good name of all those who were in the meeting and did not leak the information," he said.
Netanyahu's ire was apparently aroused by the lead headline in Wednesday's Yediot Aharonot, which read: "Disagreement about Iran among the intelligence agencies."
According to the story, the members of the security cabinet were shocked to hear that the country's different intelligence agencies – the Mossad, Shin Bet, and Army Intelligence – do not agree about the Iranian issue.
According to the report, the disagreement is over the so-called "zone of immunity," that period where the Iranians will have progressed on their nuclear program beyond the point where an Israeli attack would be effective.
Netanyahu, adjourning the second part of the meeting, told the ministers that he did not have anything against the media, which was just doing its job. "I have a grievance against the person who broke the most basic trust needed to hold security cabinet meetings, and harmed the ability to hold classified meetings. I have a responsibility to the citizens of Israel and to the country's security, and therefore I am disbanding this meeting."
Tuesday's meeting was the first in-depth meeting on Iran held by the security-cabinet in months.
While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's inner cabinet, which is made up of Netanyahu and eight other ministers, can give an advisory opinion on whether to attack Iran, the actual decision needs to be made by the security cabinet. This body could also choose to bring such a decision to the full 29-member cabinet.
In addition to Netanyahu, the security cabinet also includes Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Construction and Housing Minister Arial Attias, Minister Bennie Begin, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Interior Minister Moshe Ya'alon, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, Intelligence Agencies Minster Dan Meridor, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom.