Lapid: Netanyahu wiretapping is reminiscent of Watergate

Channel 10 quoted a “senior security figure” Sunday saying that he was present in a meeting five years ago in which Prime Minister Netanyahu requested wiretapping phones.

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June 4, 2018 19:31
1 minute read.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at the Knesset plenum discussing goverment allowances for the handicap,

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at the Knesset plenum discussing goverment allowances for the handicap, September 18, 2017.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

If reports are true that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the wiretapping of his cabinet ministers, it would be tantamount to the Watergate scandal that rocked the United States, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told The Jerusalem Post at the party’s faction meeting Monday.

Channel 10 quoted a “senior security figure” Sunday saying that he was present in a meeting five years ago in which Netanyahu requested wiretapping phones of more than 100 IDF officers and senior cabinet ministers. Lapid, who was a minister at the time, said he did not know if he was wiretapped.

“What I know is that there were often polygraph tests, because so much leaked from the security cabinet,” Lapid said. “If this really did happen, this is as serious as Watergate.”

In the Watergate Scandal, members of then-US president Richard Nixon’s administration attempted to wiretap phones of the rival Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington’s Watergate complex. The scandal led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

When Netanyahu initiated the 2015 election, he blamed it on efforts by Lapid and then-justice minister Tzipi Livni to undermine him and topple him. Livni’s associates said they were unaware about whether she was wiretapped but that “we have nothing to hide.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was also a minister at the time, said he did not believe the story was true. But he said it bothered him that wiretapping was more common in Israel than Europe.

“No one really believes they listened to the ministerial level,” Liberman told his Yisrael Beytenu faction. “There are rules for wiretapping. It has to be authorized by a judge. This is completely ridiculous. But this tool is used in a way that does not exist in Western states. It is not healthy that it’s used here much more than France, Germany and England.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said there must be an immediate investigation of the wiretapping scandal, in which former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo accused Netanyahu last week of ordering the wiretapping of him, when he headed the Mossad, and then-IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz.


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