Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected criminal suspicions leveled against him in recent days, amid speculation that his tenure will end soon.
According to a report on Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, Netanyahu lashed out – in private conversations with Knesset members – at the press, the opposition and members of his own party, whom he accused of conspiring to unseat him.
“They are trying to get me and attempting to topple the Right,” Netanyahu told senior officials in his coalition, according to the report. “This is not new. They have been trying for many years. I don’t see us going to elections now.”
Netanyahu mocked reports about his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, who has turned state’s witness against him, and Case 2000, in which he is accused of conspiring to harm one newspaper and help another.
“It’s not like I am going tomorrow and they are going to replace me,” he said. “I don’t know what they want from me. I have nothing to fear. I don’t think I have a problem.”
Netanyahu slammed Transportation Minister Israel Katz for “undermining” him, and accused him of being behind an anonymous quote in Yediot Aharonot,
attributed to a senior Likud figure, saying he would not permit Netanyahu to remain in power if he is indicted.
“The senior minister in the Likud can continue trying to replace me,” Netanyahu said.
Katz’s office denied that he tried to undermine Netanyahu.
Netanyahu posted on his Facebook page an article quoting senior Palestinian sources saying they hoped the investigations would topple him, and wrote: “It won’t happen.”
Various Hebrew media outlets published comparisons on Monday between what politicians said when former prime minister Ehud Olmert was investigated and what they are saying now about Netanyahu.
Likud politicians who called on Olmert to quit when he was under investigation spoke very differently about Netanyahu, while politicians who defended Olmert are now saying Netanyahu should resign.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said the comparison was invalid because in 2008 American businessman Moshe Talansky had already testified that Olmert had received an envelope of money in his hand with more than NIS 500,000 in cash.
“Now, the media is attempting – which I find contemptuous – to draw a comparison between Olmert and Netanyahu,” she said. “I call on all of you to be patient. Don’t accept the poisoned arrows that are being served up each evening as though they were the real truth and, most importantly, remember: Netanyahu is not Ehud Olmert.”