Former head of domestic intelligence says PM makes decisions on Tehran's atomic programme out of "messianic feelings".
Yuval Diskin, the former director of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service, said in a voice clip played on Israel Radio that the country's leaders were "messianic" and unfit to tackle the Iranian nuclear programme.
"I have no faith in the prime minister, nor in the defence minister," said Diskin. "I really don't have faith in a leadership that makes decisions out of messianic feelings."
Diskin also told listeners that while he did not think Netanyahu's decision was an "illegitimate decision", he was "really" afraid that "these are not the people whom I'd like to see at the wheel during an operation like that".
Other retired officials have also criticised Netanyahu and his defence minister, Ehud Barak's, rhetoric of intentions to open an unprecedented front with Iran and, potentially, with its allies on Israel's borders.
Meir Dagan, a former Mossad foreign intelligence director, last year also ridiculed the Israeli war option. However, Diskin's has been the most harsh criticism of Netanyahu's threat of a pre-emptive strike on Iran if diplomacy fails.
"They're creating a false impression about the Iranian issue," said Diskin. "They're appealing to the stupid public, if you'll pardon me for the phrasing, and telling them that if Israel acts, there won't be an [Iranian] nuclear bomb."
Ron Kampeas, editor of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the US, told Al Jazeera that when Dagan made the claims last year, there was an attempt by the Israelis to make him seem "like an outlier".
"Now Diskin has come out and done it in more of a blunt way than Dagan had," he said. "There was already a little dent, this is going to make it a deeper dent."