Coalition Lawmakers Blast Netanyahu for Attacking Police Chief: 'The Problem Is With You'

After Netanyahu's outburst, his public security minister suggests launching investigation into leaks from corruption probes against the prime minister

Benajmin Netanyahu and Gilad Erdan, October 2017.
Amit Shabi

Members of Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition slamed the prime minister after he attacked the Israel Police and its commissioner on Saturday over a report on the impending renewal of investigations into his conduct in a number of high-profile corruption cases.

Channel 2 News on Saturday announced that police would renew investigations into Netanyahu's cases. Netanyahu responded to the report, saying that the leaks from the police regarding probes against him were "amounting to a tsunami."

Three lawmakers from Kulanu, a center-ring party in Netanyahu's government, took to Twitter to criticize Netanyahu's outburst.

"A line was crossed in [Netanyahu’s] attack on the police," Rachel Azaria said. "We will not allow this. The police force is the most fundamental way of ensuring civilian security and the rule of law."

Merav Ben Ari attacked Netanyahu: “Mr. prime minister, the police commissioner, who you yourself chose, is not the problem. The problem is not the police investigators who are doing their job dealing with leaks from their investigation,” she wrote. “The problem is with you.”

Roy Folkman, Kulanu's whip, criticized the "non-stop attacks" against police officers. "Public trust is the most difficult aspect of the legal system, and responsible leadership must strengthen this [public trust]," he said.

Earlier Sunday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan addressed Netanyahu's criticism of the police, suggesting launching an investigation into the leaks. "We need to periodically check those involved in the investigations of the prime minister, to ensure that information isn't being passed to unauthorized people," he told Israel Radio.

Education minister Naftali Bennet also chimed in, saying that the police and its legal advisors "must be allowed to do their jobs." When asked why he did not criticize Netanyahu's outburst directly, Bennet said that he's "convinced that the police commissioner and the legal advisor will ignore the background noise," referring to protests and media reports, "and will complete their work with professionalism."

Saturday night's police response to Netanyahu's condemnation said that "the Israel Police is doing its job according to the law" and that they will not "be dragged into the baseless attacks aimed at disrupting the police's work and delegitimizing the rule of law."