NetanyahuNoam Moskowitz/Knesset spokesperson

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused the police of illegally spying on Israeli citizens following allegations over the police's use of the NSO group's Pegasus software.

"This is a black day for the State of Israel. Without addressing my issue, which of course has wide implications, I think this issue concerns all citizens of the country - not right, not left, all citizens of the country without exception," Netanyahu said during a "40 signatures" debate at the Knesset Monday evening.

"Something unthinkable has happened here. Police officials have illegally used the most aggressive tools in the world to spy on countless citizens - journalists, social activists from right and left, mayors, businessmen, politicians, their families - who was not spied upon?", Netanyahu asked.

"The private lives of citizens were unveiled here. They followed them, listened to them, got into their most hidden secrets and who knows what improper use they made of this espionage. Spyware designed to thwart terrorism and fight our enemies has become an everyday tool used by police to spy on civilians in violation of any norm, in violation of any law.

To illustrate the seriousness of the matter, Netanyahu said that "this is similar to the IDF using the F-35 planes we use against Iran and Hezbollah and Hamas to bomb the citizens of Israel. That never happened and under no circumstances could it be on the agenda."

The Opposition leader called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry: ''There is only one way to deal with it. Not with maneuvers and excuses and not in all sorts of ways that would not be acceptable to all the occupants of this house. The way to do this is through a strong and independent inquiry, which will be acceptable to both sides of this house. Only in this way will we restore the public's trust in our country and in our democracy."

Netanyahu went on to attack the government and its leader: "Naftali, you asked, 'What hurts us?' It hurts us that within a few months you destroyed the tremendous achievements we brought to the citizens of Israel. Eight months ago, we transferred to you the first country in the world to exit from COVID safely. We were then ranked in the top five in the world successfully in dealing with the plague. There were almost 0 sick, 0 infected, 0 dead, and today the new booklet Bennett must copy is "How to Surrender to the Plague." That's exactly what you did."

"In recent months, almost 3,000 Israelis have died in Israel from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, most of them died for no reason because we have vaccines today. It is a completely different situation. We have vaccines, we have brought millions of vaccines, me and my colleagues here.

''A month before the election, there was no more lockdown, Naftali, there is no need for lockdowns when there are vaccines. But other things are needed. Limit crowds, enforce masks, intensify the third and fourth vaccination campaigns. With the third vaccines in particular a thousand people died because the third vaccine was waiting in containers in Europe even though we bought them in advance. You waited a month until you brought them in and a thousand people died for no reason.

''You did nothing and another 2,000 died. The hospital departments are overwhelmed. Records show critically ill patients, postponing surgeries, postponing life-saving treatments, and all when there are vaccines! What a failure," Netanyahu said.