Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Photo by Dror Artzi / Emil Salman
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's attack on Likud officials for opposing the probe into Israeli human rights groups on Monday, saying that the "Likud party isn't a dictatorship."

Netanyahu spoke to Lieberman on Monday night and said he "completely rejects" his comments regarding senior officials in the right-wing Likud party, who Lieberman attacked for opposing a bill calling for a Knesset investigation into Israeli non-governmental organizations that "delegitimize" the Israel Defense Forces.

Lieberman said that such behavior betrays the nationalist camp and is why the right "never rules even when it wins." Lieberman's comment appeared to be directed at Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin and Likud ministers Benny Begin and Michael Eitan, all of whom had expressed opposition to the bill.

Netanyahu said that his Likud party is indeed "united in the need to act against organizations who work illegally against the State of Israel and the IDF," however he emphasized that "there are a variety of opinions regarding the best way to implement polices."

"The Likud is a democratic and pluralistic party, and isn't a one-opinion dictatorship," Netanyahu added. "All the Likud ministers are concerned for the security of the state and its citizens, and to enact this they do not need approval from anyone."

On Monday, speaking at the opening of a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting, Lieberman accused opponents of the probe of presenting false facts about the proposal, and those groups which would be investigated.

"[The proposed probe] does not include the Geneva Initiative and Peace Now, which are legitimate, and there is no intention to investigate groups that are truly involved in politics and human rights," Lieberman said. "The only groups to be investigated are those whoses goals are to deter the IDF from its fight against terrorism."

"Looking at the facts, we are asking why don't they protest about Gilad Shalit. They always argue that Israel is not right. These are organizations that aid terrorism, and whose goals are to weaken the IDF and the state of Israel."

Last week, the Knesset plenum voted to order the House Committee to consider establishing a parliamentary panel of inquiry into left-wing Israeli organizations accused of participating in 'delegitimization' campaigns against IDF soldiers.

Forty-seven legislators voted in favor of the motion while 16 voted against.