MK David Amsalem (Likud) sharply criticized the police's conduct Sunday in reaching and agreement that will see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff and confidant Ari Harow become a state witness against him, accusing them of employing extortion-style tactics.
"If they weren't the police, it would have been considered extortion by threats. That's how a criminal organization operates," Amsalem said in an interview with Ynet.
Amsalem added that from his point of view, "a state witness is illegitimate. A state witness is a delinquent who is part of the crime the others are blamed for, but he has another trait that others do not. He is also an informant who wants to turn on his friends in order to save himself. So it's not a moral thing. It's a despicable thing.
"The Israeli police have a system," he said. "They're firing dozens of bullets at the prime minister in the sense that they are actually opening several cases against him at the same time. It's inhumane. An ordinary person cannot handle such an amount of cases (against him)."
When asked whether Netanyahu would have to resign if an indictment was brought against him, Amsalem replied that "in a democratic state, the government is replaced not by the police but by ballot."
Amsalem also criticized his party colleagues, who he said "lined up and begged and argued about positions and other nonsense, about things that add to their status," when Netanyahu formed the government.
"So today I expect them to come and defend the Likud. This is not about the prime minister. I do not see this as the story of Netanyahu; I see this as the story of the national camp. The left understands that it is impossible to replace the right-wing government with Netanyahu at our side, so I think that the fight here is not personal against Netanyahu and I expect them to support him in this struggle because, as I said, I see it as a national struggle."
When asked if ministers who do not defend Netanyahu should resign, he replied: "Of course. I mean, why would you not defend him? On the face of it, it seems that it is because you think that he is in the wrong. If so, and you are a minister he appointed, then resign, go home and say what you think."
MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) confronted MK Amsalem on Ynet and said that "the prime minister is presenting this as if it is a battle between the right and the left. We did not appoint (Attorney General Avichai) Mandelblit and neither did the police commissioner nor the state prosecutor. We did not invent Ari Harow.
"These are things that happen because the prime minister is apparently a corrupt man, with a corrupt environment and with people who did things that are currently being exposed, and the Israeli public does not deserve leadership of this kind."
Hasson said that it would be unacceptable if Netanyahu chose not resign if he was indicted.
"The State of Israel is bigger than Netanyahu and the Likud is also bigger than Netanyahu," Hasson said. "You need at this moment to understand that there is also a state, because you speak in terms of party, and you also speak in some more controversial terms; to protect a friend, to keep him at any cost.
"What do you mean at any cost? What is a friend? This is a prime minister who has public responsibility, he has to preserve the purity of his office and the law. If we see, as we see now, that in the last few years around Netanyahu such pus has accumulated, then you as a citizen, a person who truly believes in this country, should be the first to come and say: 'I do not support such a prime minister.'"
In response, Amsalem slammed Hasson by reminding him that when Ehud Olmert was in office, Hasson worked to enact laws against investigations into an acting prime minister.
Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash and Moran Azulay contributed to this article.