World

Israeli police recommend indictments of Netanyahu in corruption cases

Israeli police recommend indictments of Netanyahu in corruption cases

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot attend a security counsel meeting at IDF Headquarters following the crash of an F-16 plane on February 10, 2018.

"After reading the recommendations report, I can say that it is a biased, extreme document full of holes, like Swiss cheese".

Avi Gabbay, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said the "Netanyahu era is over" and called on him to step down.

However, the project was later scrapped because of its escalating cost to the Israeli government. A prime minister facing such police recommendations or who has been formally charged is not obliged to resign.

In the first case, dubbed Case 1000, Mr Netanyahu allegedly received cigars, champagne, jewellery and luxury travel from two billionaires, the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and the Australian businessman James Packer, during his tenure.

Among the supporters of the Likud party headed by Netanyahu, 68 percent were in favor of the prime minister's resignation, while 19 percent spoke against it.

"I want to reassure you, the coalition is stable".




It is now up to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, a former military advocate general and ex-cabinet secretary who was appointed to the country's top legal post by Netanyahu, to decide whether to file criminal charges.

Netanyahu draws political strength in part from his close ties with U.S. President Donald Trump, who in December reversed decades of U.S. policy by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move hailed by Israelis although Palestinians - who claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state - and leaders across the Middle East were dismayed.

In a detailed statement, police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer, saying that for almost a decade, from 2007 to 2016, they gave gifts that included champagne, cigars and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.

Now get this: on the question of whether elements in law enforcement and the political establishment are trying to launch a coup with the Netanyahu investigations-the most stirring and, possibly, outrageous argument in Bibi's rebuttal speech Tuesday night-a whopping 34% agreed.

In all, the merchandise was worth more than one million shekels ($A392,000), the statement said. Milchan's lawyer, Boaz Ben Zur, told Reuters that the bribery allegation against his client was "baseless".

The second case, dubbed Case 2000, involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth. A Hadashot News poll taken a day after the police said that Netanyahu should be prosecuted for corruption in two cases shows that the Likud would get 26 seats in a new Knesset, more than the party now has.


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