Netanyahu Quashes ‘Ridiculous’ Rumor That He Will Resign

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday. (Reuters/Marcos Brindicci)

The Knesset is on vacation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is abroad, and the investigations against him and his wife on various corruption charges are progressing quite slowly – so in the season of political “downtime,” someone has to rile things up, according to the prime minister. But don’t pay attention; rumors of his imminent political demise are inaccurate. “It’s all nonsense,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters who accompanied him on his trip to Latin America. “There will not be elections anytime soon.”

Netanyahu was responding to a spate of rumors Tuesday that he was planning to step down as prime minister, a rumor that apparently originated in social media posts from groups of Likud members. “Who put that idea into the mind of Likud members?” asked Netanyahu rhetorically. “There are numerous ways to analyze this – apparently someone thought they could benefit from this somehow.” But would a political rival of the prime minister be so direct? “He might think he could benefit, but since everyone would suspect it was him, in the end he wouldn’t benefit. The rumor that I am going to resign is ridiculous – you can tell how ridiculous it is just by reading it.”

In the social media post, an anonymous Likud member wrote, “Atomic bomb in the Likud – the battle for the party’s legacy will soon ensue. It’s going to be a bloody fight. Senior officials in the Likud said that Netanyahu has decided not to continue in politics after this term. He will make an announcement on this in the coming weeks, claiming that he wants to spend more time with his family.”

According to Netanyahu, the rumor “is so far removed from reality that it is ridiculous. The Likud has so much support among Israelis, more than even in 1996, and that support is also for me and my wife. The support for us is huge – there is no other word for it.”

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