Netanyahu remains defiant in face of corruption allegations

14 February, 2018, 19:47 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay seen during a faction meeting at the Israeli parliament

A police statement on Tuesday said there was enough evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

"Neither I nor anyone else has plans for elections".

I tell you, also this time, things will end up with nothing.

Netanyahu, prime minister for a total of almost 12 years, also harshly denounced the police recommendations against him as "full of holes, like Swiss cheese".

Almost all of Netanyahu's Cabinet ministers issued statements of support and no coalition partners appeared ready to bolt.

The police said there was sufficient evidence to charge both Milchan and Mozes with bribery, along with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu himself called the allegations unfounded and said he would not resign.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "not living up to the standard" expected of the office, but stopped short of calling for his resignation. It can't be that this government continues as is, " Gabbay told Israel's Army Radio.

Shas leader Arye Deri, who was convicted and served a prison sentence for corruption, said at the local authorities convention that this was the best government he had been a part of and that Netanyahu would win the next election.

Police can make only a recommendation; the final decision to indict rests with the Attorney-General. Approval for Netanyahu's indictment has grown in magnitude within the Knesset over recent months, originally stemming mostly from the left-wing opposition parties but has since gained traction within the ruling right-wing coalition as the inevitably of his indictment grew.

In the second investigation, police allege Netanyahu tried to strike a deal with the country's largest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, that he would support legislation created to hurt their main competitor, Israel Hayom, in exchange for positive press coverage.

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In all, the gifts were worth more than one million shekels ($280,000), the statement said.

According to Netanyahu, this relation "included the mutual exchange of gifts dating back to the time I was a private citizen and long before assuming office". "In this framework, gifts were given from time to time by Mr. Milchan to the Netanyahu family with no business interest", said Milchan's lawyer.

Meanwhile, it emerged how opposition leader Yair Lapid testified in one of the two investigations which led to recommendations for Netanyahu's indictment. "It's important to realize that Netanyahu's political base is very loyal, these are people with an emotional connection to the Likud party". Netanyahu ally David Amsalem called him a "snitch".

Netanyahu said he was certain that the truth would be revealed.

Regev said in an interview with Israel Radio: "You're allowed to receive presents from friends".

Police said in a statement that the prime minister had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels (£150,000, $208,300) from Milchan, and 250,000 shekels (or £51,000, $70,822) from Packer.

But Netanyahu remained defiant. "Not in a single day, not in a year, not at all".

"A prime minister is not meant to be flawless or live an over-modest lifestyle, but he needs to be someone people look at and say: "This is how one should act", Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a speech in Tel Aviv.

He acknowledged aiding Milchan with his visa issues, but said Milchan had done much for Israel and noted that the late Shimon Peres had also been close with Milchan.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of arranging barter with Arnon Mozes, the promoter of an Israeli newspaper in exchange for favourable coverage.

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