A day after the trial of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began, he was attacked in the media by two of his most dedicated foes, former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.
In an outburst spilling over with venom on Monday, Olmert, who spent 16 months in prison on corruption offenses, railed against both Netanyahu and his family, and accused him of leading the country into violent upheaval.
“Netanyahu is a criminal, a scoundrel, a thief. I definitely see him being sent to prison and staying there for quite a few years,” he told Army Radio.
“I wish him to take his wife [Sara] and his son [Yair] and his whole crazy family to a place where they will receive adequate therapy,” he said.
In a separate interview Monday with Ynet, Olmert accused Netanyahu of laying the groundwork for the murder of law enforcement officials during a speech he gave before entering the hearing, comparing it to public remarks he made before the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
“This is the atmosphere that ends in tragedy, that’s how Bibi did it with Rabin,” he charged. “Bibi wasn’t an accomplice in Rabin’s murder, but he created an atmosphere that inevitably led to the option that someone would murder the prime minister. Today he is leading [Israel] to the same atmosphere which could end in tragedy.”
Olmert described Netanyahu as “a crime boss surrounded by his henchmen,” referring to the group of Likud ministers who accompanied him to court on Sunday. “What happened yesterday was a gang of criminals going wild, headed by the Israeli prime minister. The more a person feels guilty, the more they will threaten.”
The former prime minister then disclosed the reason for his hatred of Netanyahu: “Netanyahu — via private investigators and large sums of money donated by far-right American Jews — had various systems scrutinize every detail of my life to get information that was then handed to the state comptroller and the attorney general to investigate me,” he said of the case that led to his conviction.
Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu in his Yesh Atid faction meeting of “attempting a coup” in his address outside the court on Sunday, when he again insisted that the charges against him were concocted to oust him from office.
Lapid said Netanyahu threatened the judges by bringing with him to court the public security minister and representatives of the judicial selection committee.
He further accused the prime minister of “incitement” that will lead to violence and possibly a civil war, proving that he was unfit to be prime minister.
Later on Monday evening, Israeli police were quoted responding to Netanyahu’s allegations of phony charges.
“There has never been a prime minister here who tried like this to goad and hurt the law enforcement in such an overt way,” Channel 12 quoted an unnamed source as saying. “Netanyahu’s baseless claims say more about him than about investigators and the prosecution.”