Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told confidants he will not resign even if he is indicted, according to an article published by the Israel Hayom newspaper Thursday morning.
Netanyahu reportedly also said that he does not believe Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit will decide to indict him during the campaign, after the governing coalition decided Monday elections would be held earlier than scheduled.
Israel Hayom, a freely distributed daily considered pro-Netanyahu, also said that if Mendelblit does decide to indict Netanyahu before the elections, he will “become the target of a merciless attack on the part of senior Likud officials. There will be nothing pretty about it and no attempt to maintain any respect. The entire Likud campaign will be directed against him,” the article's author, Israel Hayom's political correspondent Mati Tuchfeld, wrote.
Senior Likud officials were quoted in the report as saying that the next government coalition will consist of parties that will allow Netanyahu to continue to serve as prime minister even if he goes to trial. “Benny Gantz, Orli Levi-Abekasis, Moshe Kahlon, Yair Lapid and maybe even Avi Gabbay – all of them can be an option as partners in a future government, but Netanyahu will make sure in advance that none of them intends to bring him down,” the report said.
- Netanyahu's Christmas Gift to Israel: Early Elections
- Netanyahu Tells Settler Leaders: The Left Will Try to Take Power With the Media's Help
- How Netanyahu Plans to Stay in Power and Beat Criminal Charges
Netanyahu's political party, Likud, denied the report, saying "the claim that the prime minister said these things is incorrect, since Netanyahu didn't speak to anyone about this issue."
The Likud party added that "nobody in the Likud is threatening the attorney general. The threats and pressures to charge Netanyahu at any cost come daily from the media and from the left."
On Thursday, Haaretz reported that if Netanyahu is reelected, he intends to require his future partners to agree to legislation similar to the law in France, which forbids charging a sitting prime minster for as long as he is in office.