Likud candidate Gideon Saar retaliated against an attack on him by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying that the prime minister is perpetrating fake news.
“The prime minister decided to recycle a false plot,” Saar told Israel Radio on Sunday. “Someone who complains about ‘fake news’ should not create fake news.”
The day before, a Likud webcast launched for the election campaign recycled a conspiracy scenario in which Saar allegedly colluded to rob him of an upcoming victory. PM Netanyahu insisted in the video that he wasn’t making it up.
But Saar reiterated that there was no truth to the story, and declared his loyalty.
“I respect the prime minister as the chairman of the party,” Saar said. “He is our candidate and also mine.
“These things have no basis and it is a pity that they are being said at this time when we need to direct our efforts against our political rivals in a difficult election campaign,” Saar said. He concluded by calling for the names to be revealed of those who were accusing him of plotting.
Also on Monday, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of using reelection to stay out of jail.
Netanyahu “wants to win the elections and pass laws that say he should not be interrogated,” adding that “as far as [Netanyahu] is concerned, if he is not in power, he will end up in prison,” Lapid said in a speech at the Movement for Quality Government in Israel conference.
“These elections are about our lives. About the lines in the emergency room. About the cost of living,” Lapid declared. “They are not allowed to be elections about the interrogations.”
In response, the Likud released a statement saying: “Before Lapid preaches morality, he should explain to the public what he talked to Noni Mozes about in dozens of secret meetings in a secret hideout of a businessman in Savyon, and why he erased the meetings from his schedule?”
PM Netanyahu is accused of plotting to manipulate media coverage with Mozes, publisher of Yediot Aharonot, a charge he denies.