Israel police recommend corruption charges for Netanyahu

Israel police recommend corruption charges for Netanyahu

Even after police recommended that Binyamin Netanyahu be prosecuted on corruption charges, the prime minister's party still leads in polls, and the Likud would likely be able to form a new government if elections were held now. A prime minister facing such police recommendations or who has been formally charged is not obliged to resign.

It is now up to Israel's attorney-general to decide whether to file charges.

One of the cases against Netanyahu, known as Case 1000, alleged the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust" by the prime minister.

Lapid's remarks Wednesday came the morning after Israeli police recommended Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two cases. According to recordings obtained by the police, Mr Netanyahu offered to help decrease the circulation of the paper's main competitor if the publisher promised more favourable news coverage in return.

Asked whether they believed Netanyahu's version of events or those of Yair Lapid, who was revealed to be a central witness in the investigations against Netanyahu, 35% of respondents said they believed Lapid, and 30% believed Netanyahu.

In both cases, evidence appears strong.

The State's Attorney is reportedly upset the police forced upon them an unprepared case against Netanyahu. The owner of the competing paper has confirmed in his testimony that Mr Netanyahu approached him with a request not to expand the circulation of his publication. Netanyahu called the allegations baseless and vowed to complete his fourth term in office.

The law obligates him to leave office only if convicted in court, which could take years.


He added that "potential challengers understand that Netanyahu is doing great things for Israel, and if they don't, they are smart enough to know that Likud members and voters won't forgive them for an opportunistic attack on Netanyahu while he is dealing with these accusations".

Mr Netanyahu's ruling coalition, too, shows no signs of weakness.

He says "there are things that are forbidden to do in a democratic government and this is one of them".

As the police investigation gained steam in recent months, Netanyahu has claimed to be a victim of an overaggressive police force and a media witchhunt.

Police recommended indicting Milchan and the publisher, Arnon Moses, with bribery as well. He could make up his mind quickly, and will probably reach a conclusion similar to that of the very investigators he advised. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will serve as acting prime minister in his absence.

He could still be implicated in two other corruption cases called 3000 and 4000. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is also scheduled to attend the conference.

If Netanyahu had entered a risky new period in which he must battle for his political survival and avoid imprisonment, he did so possessed of political advantages that no Israeli prime minister has before enjoyed.

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