Netanyahu has said that he has highlighted both Yossi Cohen, the head of the Mossad intelligence agency, and Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the US, as his potential successors once his political career ends, according to The Times of Israel, citing the media outlet Walla.
“There are two people I consider fit to lead the State of Israel — Yossi Cohen and Ron Dermer,” he said, as cited by Walla.
Netanyahu retains the legacy of being Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
The PM said that he does not intend to step down from the position, even as criminal indictments begin to encroach on him.
According to Walla, a discrepancy has emerged between the two stated successors.
The 46-year old Dermer has declared that he has no interest in pursuing a political career following the end of his tenure as a diplomat.
Although he denies any political prospects, the alternative pick, 57-year-old spy chief Cohen, may have his eye on the top job after his tenure as head of Mossad concludes.
Cohen, a former national security adviser for Netanyahu, became chief of Mossad in 2016, succeeding Tamir Pardo.
He has defined his term through significant opposition to the Iranian nuclear program, opposing the potential development of nuclear weapons by Iran and advocating a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
His period as Mossad chief has also seen increasing ties between Arab states and Israel on the basis of opposing Iran.
Dermer, conversely, despite being a backer of Netanyahu, opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal adamantly.
The agreement was signed between Tehran, the European Union and six world powers including the US under then-President Barack Obama.
Dermer began his service as Israel’s envoy to Washington in 2013, shortly preceding president Barack Obama's second term.
Netanyahu has vowed to extend the diplomat's term by an extra year, despite initially declaring his term to be over following the September elections.
The end of an era?
Netanyahu faces a pre-indictment hearing in October on bribe and fraud charges in three different cases.
He currently denies any wrongdoing and has come out adamantly to say that he will not resign even if charged.
If indicted, he would become the first Israeli prime minister to be charged with a crime.
Israelis will head to the ballot box for the second time this year in September, following the failure of Netanyahu and his Likud Party to secure a majority earlier this year.
Loyalists of Netanyahu reportedly say they want coalition partners to support an immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office.