Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday 17 Elul 5772 convened his 14-member Security Cabinet in special session, to permit them to hear the annual security/intelligence summation from the leaders of the prominent agencies. Addressing the forum were the head of military intelligence, as well as the directors of the ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) and Mossad Intelligence Agency. Some of the topics covered were the civil war in Syria, the Iranian nuclear threat, and the new regime in Egypt.
Much attention focused on the Iranian nuclear issue, the threats, the military aspect of uranium enrichment and the options facing Israel today. The special briefing session lasted for eight hours. This was a high-level forum, and ministers arrived without their aides and assistants, instructed to leave their cellular telephones outside of the room. The meeting was held at a location in the center of the country.
Chief of Military Intelligence Major-General Aviv Kochavi began, followed by the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet.
The members of the Security Cabinet include the prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, justice minister, public security minister, finance minister, housing minister, Minister-without-Portfolio (Dr. B. Begin), vice premier & strategic affairs minister, deputy minister/interior minister, national infrastructure minister, intelligence and atomic energy minister, education minister and regional development minister.
This forum is officially permitted to make a high-level decision, such as a strike against Iran, as opposed to the Inner Forum of 8, which officially can only advise the Security Cabinet but not order a strike on Iran without at the very least confer with the Security Cabinet. The latter may also opt to take such a decision to the cabinet.
The meeting was scheduled to continue on Wednesday, 18 Elul 5772. Shortly after the meeting convened, it was adjourned.
He said at the start of the meeting:
“A short time after the conclusion of yesterday’s meeting, a very serious thing happened: A leak from within the Cabinet’s discussions. The security of the state and its citizens depends on the ability to hold confidential and in-depth discussions in the Security Cabinet. There all the facts are shown, all opinions and all implications. This is a basic work tool in managing state security.
“Yesterday, somebody severely undermined the confidence that Israeli citizens give to this forum. He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of Security Cabinet discussions. He also hurt the good name of those present at the meeting who did not leak its contents.
“I have no claim against the media; they are doing their job. I do have a claim against whoever violated the most basic trust needed to hold Security Cabinet discussions on matters having to do with Israel’s security, and undermined the ability to hold confidential discussions. I am responsible to the citizens of Israel and for the security of the state and I adjourn this meeting.”
Speaking to Israel Radio on Wednesday, Minister of National Infrastructure Dr. Uzi Landau called on ministers who were present in the high-level briefing to agree to take a polygraph exam to find out who leaked the classified information to the media.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)