Netanyahu's Son Accuses Knesset Speaker of Planning 'Coup' With Lieberman – Then Deletes Tweet

Tweet by Yair Netanyahu claimed Lieberman 'accidentally uncovered' coup attempt with veteran Likud member Yuli Edelstein after the former pitted him as perfect candidate for Likud leadership in a TV interview

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Yair Netanyahu, son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, December 10, 2018.
Yair Netanyahu, in 2018. Whether by design or not, his enhanced online activity since the election has served his father as a lighting rod. Credit: Moti Milrod

Yair Netanyahu on Saturday accused Knesset speaker and senior Likud member Yuli Edelstein of planning a coup with the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman.

The prime minister's son referred to an interview of Lieberman on Channel 12's "Meet the Press," in which the former defense minister  said that if Benjamin Netanyahu did not agree to form a unity government with Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan, he would ask Likud to introduce another candidate for Prime Minister. In this context, "Edelstein would certainly be an acceptable candidate for all," Lieberman said.

Yair Netanyahu later wrote on Twitter that "Lieberman just accidentally uncovered a coup he planned with Yuli Edelstein - and they say I'm the one who can't keep my mouth shut." He then deleted the tweet, and asked to clarify his words did not represent his father's opinion. Earlier on Saturday, Yair Netanyahu also tweeted a montage comparing Lieberman to a walrus.

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Edelstein issued his own response to Lieberman on Saturday. "Netanyahu is the only Likud candidate to be the next prime minister. The fact that the names of senior Likud leaders are brought up as replacements for Netanyahu is nothing more than a relentless attempt to delegitimize the elected Likud leader. Nobody can hurt Likud unity," the Knesset speaker tweeted.

In the "Meet the Press" interview, Lieberman described a scenario in which Likud receives two more seats than Kachol Lavan, but Netanyahu and Gantz refuse to form a government of national unity. In this case, he would "not recommend anyone to the president. But the next day I would go to my Likud colleagues and tell them, 'choose somebody else, you have enough candidates.'"

"My heart is with him," Lieberman said, referring to Netanyahu, "I feel sorry for him that he has to lie all the time, repeat that I'm a left-winger. Maybe it's all the pressure, the time, the tension doing theirs."