Presidential candidate MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) accused his political rivals of spying on him Sunday.
“I have no doubt that someone hired private investigators to follow me,” he stated.
The Labor MK defended himself following a report on Channel 2 show Uvda that he regularly gambled at a casino in London while he was Defense Minister.
“I didn’t gamble,” he told Army Radio. “The last time I was in England was 12 years ago. That day, I gave the instruction to kill [Hamas military arm al-Qassam Brigades leader] Salah Shehade, and after that there was an extradition order against me in Europe, which was removed two years ago.”
Ben-Eliezer continued: “I have a large family that lives in England. They like to eat at the casino, I would join them and watch them waste their money. If my family invites me, I won’t tell them where to take me.
Ben-Eliezer said the attacks on him have lost all proportion and that “there is no doubt someone doesn’t want me to be president.”
The veteran MK discussed the kidney transplant he is supposed to undergo this week, saying that he is “strong as iron and without any problems.”
“The transplant will improve my quality of life and free me from having to undergo dialysis” three times a week, he explained. “I’m energetic and I have what to give and I feel like that’s what I need to do.”
Also Sunday, an Israel Democracy Institute poll showed that MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) remained the most popular presidential candidate, with support from 32 percent of the public.
Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman came in second place, with 13%, followed by Ben-Eliezer (10%), Dalia Dorner (8%) and MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua), with 7%.
However, 30% did not know who they prefer or refused to answer.
The public does not elect the president; MKs do, in a secret ballot. The election is expected to take place in June and the date will be set shortly after the Knesset summer session commences on May 12.