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Why criticism from former PM Barak rattles Netanyahu

A recent tweet by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak could portend the next big challenge to Benjamin Netanyahu's grip on power.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) takes a seat next to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (bottom) as Defence Minister Ehud Barak walks to deliver a statement in Jerusalem November 21, 2012. Netanyahu hinted on Wednesday that if an Egyptian-brokered truce with Islamist militants in Gaza did not work Israel would consider "more severe military action" against the Palestinian territory. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR3APHV
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an embarrassing slip of the tongue in interviews he gave to Israeli television Sept. 24. Netanyahu was asked why he had decided to call the family of Elor Azaria, who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant March 24 in Hebron, although the soldier is on trial for manslaughter over the incident. In his response, Netanyahu compared the call to any call he would make to a bereaved family that had lost a son in battle.

Netanyahu came under harsh criticism for this statement, but the first response released by his office, at 6:30 a.m. the next day, a Sunday, did not include an apology. Rather, it was a denial and an attack on the media. Then someone focused Netanyahu’s attention on a tweet sent a few hours earlier from New York by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak that read, “Anyone who compares Elor Azaria to Israel’s heroes and missing soldiers is a terrified and confused man, who has lost whatever was left of his good judgment, or, God forbid, has decided to try and ransack the Israel Defense Forces’ [IDF] values. This must not be allowed to happen. A sitting prime minister who does not take back this unrestrained nonsense will always bear the mark of indignity of someone who forgot what it means to be an IDF fighter.”

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