Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government on Sunday to the era of the rule of Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed along with his wife, Elena, following the overthrow of the Communist regime in 1989.
Speaking to an audience in Tel Aviv, Barak also accused Netanyahu of "bringing the country to destruction through an extreme, messianic and racist minority" and accused the premier and his government of "betraying their responsibility to [Israel's] citizens, their welfare and best interest."
"The moral collapse of Netanyahu is also producing laws whose only purpose is helping the prime minister escape from the bribery, fraud and breach of trust affairs he is suspected of," Barak said.
"This is a reflection for the deterioration in values that at this point relates not to the best interests of the citizens but prostration before an allegedly corrupt leader. Our story is reminiscent of Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu more than an exemplary society and a light unto the nations," Barak said.
"The government needs to work for us, for you. This government and the person heading it have long ago forgotten this, and the citizenry is therefore forsaken," said the former premier, calling Netanyahu's government a group of "Tricksters who are betraying their responsibility to the citizens, their welfare and best interest."
"Behind a façade of babble, fake news and spin, they are hiding their apathy and indifference to all of you, their focus on their survival, on themselves and the outrageous benefits given to a handful of extremists, those who can pressure them and their associates," Barak, who was prime minister from 1999 to 2001, told his audience.
During his reign, Ceausescu suppressed any attempts to oppose his regime. He was elected general secretary of his country's Communist party in 1965 and was appointed prime minster two years later. In 1974, the party elected him president of Romania. His wife was the second most prominent figure in the regime.
An uprising in December 1989 overthrew the Ceausescu regime and the president and his wife fled the capital, Bucharest, but were captured and tried by a special tribunal and summarily executed.
In response to the speech, Netanyahu's Likud party said: "From day to day, Ehud Barak is revealed as [more] strange and weird. His remarks against Prime Minister Netanyahu are incitement to murder. Barak has lost it."
The three investigations pending against Netanyahu have been designated Case 1000, 2000 and 4000.
Case 1000 alleges Netanyahu and his wife received lavish gifts from Israeli Hollywood entertainment magnate Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer as bribes for beneficial legislation and personal favors.
In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of offering Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes advantageous government media policy in return for favorable news coverage.
In Case 4000, the premier is accused of providing favorable government policy to the Israeli telecommunication firm Bezeq in return for favorable news coverage of himself and his wife on Bezeq's Walla news website. The Netanyahus have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now