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Netanyahu again repeats claim Likud rival tried to unseat him

Prime Minister Netanyahu again goes after Likud rival Gideon Sa’ar, repeating claims that Sa’ar had been planning an internal party putsch to unseat the premier.

In an interview broadcast on Facebook, Netanyahu said he was informed by “more than two or three people in Likud” that they had been approached by Sa’ar and asked that they recommend he be charged with forming a new government following elections.

“I didn’t make this up. I don’t think this trick will succeed because… it is against the will of the voter,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister has previously made the same claim, which was first reported by the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom daily.

Following the interview, sources close to Netanyahu say the premier is working to prevent Sa’ar from leading Likud’s electoral list.

Sa’ar, a popular former minister who left politics in 2014 before announcing his return in 2017, strongly denies Netanyahu’s allegation.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister chose two days before the [Likud] primaries to try and recycle the same false plot that he first mentioned a few months ago,” Sa’ar says in a statement.

“The goal is clear: an attempt to hurt me in the primaries,” he continues. “Likud members are smart and know well that this has no basis. On the eve of critical elections for Likud and the state I’ll act as the responsible adult. I won’t be dragged into an internal war.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-education minister Gideon Sa’ar (L) attend an award ceremony hosted by the Trump Foundation, at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem, on December 25, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

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