Benjamin Netanyahu survives as coalition allies stick by Israeli PM over corruption allegations

For his part, Mr Lapid said “this situation does not make me happy” and that he would rather challenge Mr Netanyahu in an election than a courtroom. 

But he said he had no choice but to answer detectives’ questions when they came to him as part of the investigation. “Like any law-abiding citizen who is asked by the police to help them get to the truth, I went and answered their questions.” 

Both Mr Lapid and Avi Gabbay, the leader of the Labour Party, called on Mr Netanyahu to resign in the face of the police accusations against him. 

Mr Gabbay also called on leaders of the other coalition parties to walk out of the government and force new elections. “The problem is their chairs are very comfy,” he said.

Mr Netanyahu has been in this position twice before – once in 1997 and once in 2000 – where police have recommended that he face charges. Both times prosecutors declined to indict him.

In 2008, when Mr Netanyahu was leader of the opposition, he called on then prime minister Ehud Olmert to step down in the face of corruption allegations. “A prime minister who is sunk up to his neck in investigations has no moral and public mandate, he said at the time