Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Netanyahu’s speech to Likud members at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds was divisive when the people of Israel want unity, opposition leader Avi Gabbay told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Gabbay referred to Netanyahu’s repeated insults on Wednesday evening of the Left, which he equated with the media.
“He didn’t speak as a prime minister but like an insecure leader of a small party,” Gabbay said. “Instead of uniting the nation, he further divided it. The nation wants someone to unite them, and I hope we can persuade people we can do that best. We are ready for elections now.”
Gabbay said he did not believe the heads of the parties in Netanyahu’s coalition would topple him, even if the police decide to recommend indicting him. But he said that if Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit indicts Netanyahu, the coalition parties would have to force him out.
“I can’t imagine a situation where he remains prime minister after an indictment,” Gabbay said. “I think the coalition heads would finally take action, because they won’t be able to tell the public at election time that they allowed such a thing to happen.”
Asked if he was upset that Netanyahu’s speech was broadcast on all three networks and the opposition was not given equal time, he said “Netanyahu might speak against the media, but he can’t really be mad at the press after it served him so well.”
Former prime minister Ehud Barak also blasted the premier after Netanyahu called him in his speech “The same old man with a new beard, who was briefly prime minister and not one of our successful ones.”
Netanyahu made fun of Barak’s warnings that Israel would be isolated due to Netanyahu’s polices, noting that Israel now enjoys closer relations then ever with India, China, the US and Europe.
Speaking in a video he posted on his Facebook page from abroad, Barak called Netanyahu’s speech a “pathetic show of a cry-baby.” He called upon the prime minister to resign as soon as possible.
“When the testimony of the state’s witnesses is published, the game will be over,” Barak said. “Bibi is about to finish his path. If he does it respectfully, his achievements will also be remembered. If he continues to hesitate, he will crash to the depths, and that would be too bad.”
The Likud responded on Facebook by saying that Barak cannot preach against corruption after he was investigated for illegally raising millions of shekels in the nonprofit organizations scandal. The Likud said that had Barak’s then-cabinet secretary Isaac Herzog not remained silent during questioning, Barak would be sitting in prison today.
“Barak should continue his travels between the world’s most posh hotels and not make false charges against Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has always acted according to the law for the good of the people of Israel and its security,” the Likud said.