Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday likened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a “godfather” who heads a criminal organization made up of Likud ministers.
The comments come a day after the opening hearing of Netanyahu's criminal trial was held at Jerusalem's court. The prime minister staged a press briefing ahead of the hearing outside the courtroom, where he slammed the three corruption cases against him as "slanderous and delusional."
“I saw it [Netanyahu’s speech ahead of the hearing] and I had a feeling it was a scene from Francis Ford Coppola's 'Godfather' movie,” said Olmert in an interview with Ynet. “The head of a crime organization surrounded by people who execute orders.”
"What happened yesterday was a riot staged by criminals, headed by Israel's prime minister,” Olmer told Ynet. “In my opinion, a strong person can speak quietly. The guiltier one feels, the more threatening he sounds.”
In 2009, Olmert, who is now 74, stepped down after police recommended he be indicted for graft. He was later tried and convicted of taking bribes and sentenced to 27 months in prison, but was paroled after less than a year and a half.
Olmert also said that Likud ministers are acting like "criminals" by "enabling" Netanyahu's actions.
"Israel Katz is the most restrained one, but Miri Regev, Tzipi Hotovely, Amir Ohana - this whole group that enables Netanyahu's attempts to overhaul Israel's democracy, no less.
The former Israeli leader also added that in his view the differences between Netanyahu and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz are way too broad to overcome, which will eventually lead to the unity government's collapse.
“This government will fall, it might take three months or half a year, but it won't last because nothing that is built on fraud, falsehood, cheating and pretense ever lasts.”
News agencies contributed to this report