PM: Netanyahu threatened to sic army on me; I knew about Omicron before S. Africa

In a series of interviews to media outlets, coordinated and published at the same time, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett touts his handling of the coronavirus crisis, bashes opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, and credits himself with saving the nation from “falling into the abyss.”

Bennett recalls to Haaretz that Netanyahu began issuing wild threats against him once it became clear that Bennett would be joining his rivals in forming a government, pushing the longtime premier from power.

“You should know that I’ll send my whole machinery against you, the army,” Bennett recalls Netanyahu telling him, noting that he made a dive bomber motion with his arm. “I’ll send the UAVs after you, and we’ll see.”

Speaking to Walla, he accuses Netanyahu of “spreading chaos, hysteria and a lack of faith” in the government.

“Netanyahu built one of the most effective propaganda machines ever,” he says. “It invents stories at an insane pace. You know yesterday I found out my mom is Catholic.”

But he also tells Haaretz he prefers Netanyahu plead out and avoid jail time, and expresses misgivings with his government’s probe of bribery suspicions around a massive submarine deal backed by Netanyahu.

On the coronavirus, he tells Walla that Israel is doing better than everywhere else in the world, apparently ignoring record-setting case numbers, rising hospitalization rates and a death toll jumping by dozens each day.

According to Our World in Data, Israel currently leads the world in intensive care admissions, relative to population.

Speaking to Ynet, Bennett notes that he was the first leader to shut down air travel and also spins a tale in which he was the first leader in the world to recognize the Omicron variant, even before South Africa.

“We recognized the extraordinary phenomenon even before the country where it was happening. I was the first leader in the world to inform the public about the Omicron phenomenon. At that time, the disease wasn’t even here yet,” he claims.

He claims Israel has built a “radar” to identify new variants early, but no details are included in the published portion of the interview.

The full interviews are set to be published Friday.

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