Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his Defense Minister Ehud Barak of “stoking the conflict” between Israel and the United States, an Israeli daily reported on Wednesday.
Netanyahu criticized Barak during a meeting with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, blasting the defense minister’s recent trip to the U.S., the Ynet News, the online edition of Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronoth, reported.
“He traveled to the U.S. to stoke the conflict between us and the Americans in order to come off as the savior – the moderate party that reconciles between the sides,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying, citing a source who was present at the meeting.
A response came from Barak’s office explaining that it was no secret that during private government meetings, and sometimes in public “Ehud Barak voices stances that differ from those held by most of his fellow cabinet members, including the prime minister.”
However, during his trips to the U.S., “Barak defends the government’s positions and makes efforts to alleviate the tension between the governments and to strengthen their security ties.”
Netanyahu, speaking during a meeting of coalition factions on Tuesday, announced that he will move up the elections if the Knesset fails to pass a “responsible state budget.”
He said that he will make the decision by the beginning of the Knesset’s winter session on Oct. 15.
According to the Ynet News, the elections are expected to be held in February, although a final date has yet to be discussed.