Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he would sue two of his main political rivals for libel over remarks relating to a graft scandal involving a German submarine deal, Reuters reports.
In a video published on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said he had instructed his attorneys to take legal action against former armed forces chief Benny Gantz and ex-defence minister Moshe Yaalon, both from the centrist Blue and White party which is seeking to unseat the prime minister in an April 9 election.
Netanyahu faces no charges over the submarine deal but he faces possible indictment in three other corruption cases. He has denied all wrongdoing.
#IsraElex19: Israeli Elections 2019
Netanyahu, a four-term veteran, will become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in the summer if he wins next month’s election.
But he faces serious challenges on different fronts. The charismatic Gantz has solid credentials on security, traditionally a strong point for Netanyahu. Polls put Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White party neck-and-neck.
Last month Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said he intends to indict Netanyahu in three cases on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending the outcome of a pre-trial hearing which will take place after the election.
Gantz has sought to focus public attention on the state’s decision not to deem Netanyahu a suspect in the submarine case.
Netanyahu accuses his opponents of carrying out a politically motivated “witch-hunt”.