Opposition rejects claims tying escalation in North to PM probes

Leaders from several parties within the Opposition disavowed statements from MKs suggesting that the prime minister had a hand in Saturday's escalation to stave off his indictment woes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay and Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On distanced themselves from MKs in their parties who said Saturday’s escalation in the North is an attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to divert attention away from police investigations against him.
Recommendations at the close of the probes into Netanyahu’s alleged corruption are expected this week.
“In light of the serious security events in the North, this is the time to exercise judgment and not populist statements,” Gabbay tweeted. “We strengthen the IDF forces working at this time and send our pilots wishes that they will recover.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) tweeted: “During the day, I heard some bizarre statements that say there are political motivations to the security situation. I clarify as opposition leader, who is updated on these matters, this is a serious security event.”
Knesset State Control Committee chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) questioned Netanyahu’s ability to adequately respond to the situation.
“The IDF’s attack in Syria is justified and necessary. It is outlandish to think attacking an Iranian drone is enough, as if this was a routine event, and we should not suspect that this is connected to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s investigations,” she said.
Yacimovich added: “A prime minister who is up to his neck in investigations and fighting the police to save his skin is not fit over time to have the public’s trust in his ability to function in such a sensitive situation.”
Gal-On said that there were cases in which Netanyahu was “measured and restrained” when it comes to using military force, and she is “certain he understands that an escalation will not serve Israel.” However, she expressed concern that the “known warmongers” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett will convince him otherwise.
Gal-On also said “we should reject with disgust all conspiracy theories as if Netanyahu started a small war to distract from his investigations. We should look at the escalation as though there is no investigation, and the investigation as though there is no escalation.”
The Meretz leader’s comments came hours after her challenger in the party’s leadership primary next month, MK Ilan Gilon, tweeted: “Let’s hope Netanyahu did not heat up the northern sector to save himself from the police investigations and recommendations in his cases that are expected to be published next week.”
Similarly, Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman said, “Netanyahu and his government are up to their necks in corruption scandals, and the night before the recommendations are publicized, Netanyahu is prepared to do anything to distract so he can get through it quietly.
“Netanyahu is leading us to a regional war in which the nations of the region will pay a heavy price just for his political survival,” she continued. “We must stop the next war before it’s too late; we must send Netanyahu home.”
Touma-Sliman also accused Israel of “endless violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty,” and said, “The right-wing government ordered this escalation in advance.”
Likud MK Nava Boker slammed opposition lawmakers tying Netanyahu’s investigations to the situation in the North.
“They should be ashamed,” she said. “There is no limit to the evil, audacity and conspiracies. It’s sad to know that all means are valid for those trying to bring him down, even during a war. Shame on you!”