Former Israel Police chief Roni Alsheikh said on Wednesday that he expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after being indicted on corruption charges in 2019.
“No one could have guessed that the prime minister would not resign and instead choose to fight from within the system,” Alsheikh, who oversaw the criminal investigations into Netanyahu during his tenure as police commissioner, told Army Radio.
“I am directing this at the party that fought and did not understand that it should say that for the good of the country, ‘We put another person at our head,'” he continued, in reference to Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
Likud released a statement slamming the remarks and calling for an investigation into the former police chief.
“The only thing that thwarted his plan for a government coup was the firm stand of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his insistence on fighting for the revelation of the truth,” Likud said.
Alsheikh’s comments also drew strong criticism from members of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir saying that the former police chief “admitted today in his own words that he tried to carry out a coup through investigations and indictments.”
Ben-Gvir continued that Alsheikh “doesn’t care about democracy, doesn’t care about the law, all he wanted was to oust a sitting prime minister who was democratically elected.”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich criticized the officials who “tried to overthrow the government and failed, and are joining together now and trying to defeat the will of the Israeli voter, and will fail this time as well.”
Former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit defended his decision to indict Netanyahu on charges of breach of trust, accepting bribes and fraud, pointing out that it was made after Alsheikh left office.
“The subject of Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister was never and will never be considered as part of the decision-making discussions regarding his criminal cases,” Mandelblit said.
“In my and everyone involved in the prosecution’s opinion, Netanyahu’s role as prime minister is not relevant at all to the decision-making process, this is my position today,” he said.