Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a liar Monday, after accusing the prime minister of leaking a false report that could pit Mofaz against the army chief.
The flare-up comes less than two weeks before the Likud primary, as the country gets ready for expected early elections that could potentially have Netanyahu running against Mofaz. The Kadima MK has been clamoring for a date to be set for his party's primary.
"He lies about the economy," Mofaz said about Netanyahu. "He lies to Israel's young people and about diplomatic issues. Now he is also lying about the most sensitive security issues."
Earlier in the day, Mofaz halted a session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which he heads, after he accused Netanyahu of orchestrating a false leak.
Mofaz said he received information that the Prime Minister's Bureau had conducted a press briefing quoting Mofaz as saying Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz had lied at a hearing on the defense budget.
Referring to himself as chairman and addressing the prime minister directly, Mofaz reportedly said: "It is inconceivable that your media advisers would plant such a bad and incorrect statement by the committee chairman, who is a former chief of staff himself, about the current chief of staff. What have we come to?"
Mofaz is a former defense minister and IDF chief of staff.
Netanyahu reportedly said he had not ordered his bureau to attribute such a statement to Mofaz, adding that he was "outraged" over the claim that Gantz lied at the budget hearing.
A source present at the committee meeting reported that Mofaz stood up from his seat and leaned over Netanyahu as he leveled his criticism of the Prime Minister's Bureau. Netanyahu is said to have commented that Mofaz is quick to take leave of his senses, and Mofaz ended the committee session.
The Prime Minister's Office said it stands by its statements and called on Mofaz to release the minutes of the committee meeting.
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