Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel was on the edge of a strategic “abyss” in his speech to the Herzliya conference on Thursday.
In a long and comprehensive assault on the Netanyahu government, he said: “A fanatical ideology has taken over Likud. They have taken over using people’s fears and weaknesses.
“We cannot blame the government for the reality around us - the Middle East order has collapsed - the terrorism, the Arab crisis. The diagnosis of the government is basically correct, the prognosis is erroneous. They see through a smokescreens, a filter that is a dangerous agenda that could push us down a slippery slope that could encroach on the whole Zionist project.”
Mr Barak, a retired lieutenant general, argued that the current government had a covert vision - to control the occupied territories forever.
He added the government knew that “if they make the agenda known, it would be seen to clash with our constitution” and provoke Israel’s isolation from the international community as well as the Jewish diaspora.
“The Netanyahu government is failing our security by managing the conflict. They say there is no partner.. what is really at the top of Bibi’s priorities is rather a sly agenda that is a direct threat to the state of Israel.”
Setting out what he claimed was Mr Netanyahu’s agenda, Mr Barak said that the government was not interested in a two-state solution, that it was waiting for the world to get used to the current reality while being distracted by home-grown terrorism, and that Israel would cautiously continue building “facts on the ground” in the occupied territories.
“The government seems to be trapped in hands of fanatics. No international leader believes any word that is uttered by Netanyahu.”
Referring to what he claimed were the current government’s attacks on civil society, education and the judiciary, Mr Barak said: “If it walks like fascist, talks like a fascist, barks like a fascist, then it is a fascist.”