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Israel: Netanyahu heard calling rival Bennett 'little dog'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens to former Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, during the weekly cabinet meeting on August 30, 2016 at his office in Jerusalem. [AFP/POOL/ABIR SULTAN/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) listens to former Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, during the weekly cabinet meeting on August 30, 2016 at his office in Jerusalem. [AFP/POOL/ABIR SULTAN/Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heard calling his right-wing rival Naftali Bennett "little dog" in recordings dating back to 2018, local media revealed on Saturday.

The recording was aired by Israeli TV Channel 13, which said it would air more recordings today.

According to the Times of Israel, the recording was made by Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu aide who later turned state witness in a series of graft cases against the Israeli prime minister.

Channel 13 said that recordings between Netanyahu and Hefetz took place when Bennett, who was then education minister, criticised Netanyahu over his criminal charges, saying: "Receiving gifts in such a wide-scale manner, for such a long period does not live up to the expectations of Israelis."

Netanyahu was also heard agreeing with Hefetz that Bennett is a "fool".

READ: Gantz weighs ousting Netanyahu

In response to these alleged insults, the Times of Israel reported Bennett saying: "Netanyahu's personal attacks do not hurt me, but his personal considerations hurt us all."

"Had the courage to work for the citizens of Israel outweighed his fear of my success, he would probably have avoided the enormous economic, health and mental suffering of millions of Israeli citizens."

Bennet concluded: "It is time for a new leadership for Israel."

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