Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Wednesday to police recommendations to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two cases. The police document, he said, is “biased, extreme and has holes like Swiss cheese.” According to Netanyahu, his ruling coalition is stable, and he has no intention of calling an early election.
Minister of Education and Netanyahu’s ruling Israeli coalition partner Naftali Bennett said Wednesday “Receiving gifts on such a large scale for so long does not meet the expectations of the citizens of Israel.”
“But, he added, the law of Israel is clear. It determines that the prime minister is allowed to continue in his post even after the police recommendations.”
“The State of Israel is not a corrupt state, nor has it become such a newscast. We will continue to work for the citizens of Israel in managing the affairs of the state, an activity not dependent on any particular person,” said Bennet. “Because we have no other country.”
Receiving gifts in such a wide scope for so long does not meet the expectation of citizens of Israel,” Bennett continued. “The leader of the Jewish state simply should not accept gifts from billionaires. That’s not how to educate a young generation, and that’s not how we’ve been educated.”
Police released their recommendations to indict the prime minister on charge of corruption, citing sufficient evidence that Netanyahu took bribes in two separate cases and acted “against public interests.”
The two cases are the so-called Case 1000 – in which Netanyahu is suspected of accepting lavish gifts from wealthy benefactors in return for advancing their interests – and Case 2000, which alleges that Netanyahu tried to strike a deal that would have provided him with positive coverage in Israel’s second largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in exchange for hurting its free rival, Israel Hayom.
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Netanyahu also assailed Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid who, as a former minister, was revealed to be a key witness in one of the cases. The prime minister questioned how it is that “Lapid seems to hold the key [ to the investigation], the same Lapid who declared that he would bring me downand who is a close friend of Milchan and was hired by him.”
After the police announced their recommendations, Netanyahu addressed the public in a live broadcast at 8:45 P.M., saying that he has worked for Israel all his life and vowing to remain the country’s prime minister.
Netanyahu maintains he did nothing wrong, claiming on numerous occassions that “there will be nothing, because there is nothing.”
Netanyahu’s Likud party criticized on Tuesday the police’s recommendations to charge him with bribery in two cases while members of the opposition hailed the “end of Netanyahu.”
Netanyahu responded in a late-night Facebook post, calling the claims “ludicrous” and saying the police chief’s comments “cast a shadow” over the investigation. In the following days Netanyahu continued to criticize the police, including the head of the anti-fraud unit Lahav 433.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin from Netanyahu’s Likud party said the recommendations “exposed a coup against the voters.”
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wrote on Facebook that only the attorney general can make a decision regarding an indictment, and called for people from across the political spectrum to stop attacking the police and the rule of law.
Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay said that “the Netanyahu era is over, either at the ballot box or through investigations.” He further added that the prime minister wounded the police and the rule of law by trying to limit the investigators and to encourage public distrust in their conclusions.