Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former Defense Minister and current Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz clashed during yesterday’s cabinet meeting dealing with the plans to expand the Israel Defense Force’s ground offensive in southern Lebanon.
Mofaz expressed his disapproval of the plans given by Peretz and suggested alternative plans. He criticized the military for wasting precious time by not asking for the expansion two weeks ago.
These words angered Peretz who burst out and said, “What did you do as Chief of Staff and Defense Minister? Where were you all these years? Why didn’t you do anything? You didn’t see the Hizballah building this threatening system?”
Mofaz was surprised at the attack and said, “We are talking about the fate of Israel, why do you have to get personal? I suggest you stick to the subject.”
Prime Minister Olmert then intervened and tried to calm Peretz. “I am not sure that everyone who is in this meeting is aware of its ramifications. These are critical decisions. We are deciding the fate of human beings. We must be calm and not fight with each other. This is too serious of a topic for it not to have a range of opinions. We must also hear different opinions.”
“It’s not important what happened in the past, not the distant past or the immediate past. Not right now. It is wrong for us to deal with these questions now. Now the entire world wants to know what the decision is and our enemies as well. There is unity within our people, and so we need unity within ourselves. There is no reason to stress and I ask everyone to act coolheaded,” Olmert added.