Thousands march against corruption after Netanyahu indictment call

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland
'If Netanyahu is Indicted it Will Really Mark The End of His Career' – Expert
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17 February, 2018

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing in both cases and has said nothing will come of the police investigations.

After receiving the police summary of the investigation, Mandelblit must decide if there is enough evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.

Lapid, who also called on Netanyahu to step down, was finance minister at the time one of the allegations took place.

The first case against Netanyahu, known as Case 1,000, involves the receipt of substantial gifts and benefits totalling almost $300,000 from several wealthy businesspeople, including Netanyahu's well-known billionaire benefactor and Hollywood producer, Arnon Milchan, Ronald Lauder, an American businessman whose family founded the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder, and the Australian billionaire James Packer. According to the report, the State Attorney slammed the police for putting it in an impossible situation by "blowing up the balloon of their recommendations to its fullest, and now any stepping back from them will seem as a collapse".

In a televised address, a stern-looking Mr Netanyahu said the recommendations against him were baseless and that he would "continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully".

In his TV address, Netanyahu said that his entire three-decade political career, which included serving as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, a previous stint as prime minister in the 1990s, and a series of Cabinet posts, was meant only to serve the Israeli public.

White House representatives announced on Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit US President Donald Trump in Washington for the two leaders' fifth meeting since Trump took office.

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Police racommandations to indict Prime Minister Netanyahu's were published on Tuesday, somewhat creating greater enthusiasm and expectation among those calling for the Prime Minister to resign.

The first case, known in Israel as "Case 1000", alleges Netanyahu received gifts of cigars, champagne, jewelry and clothing, whose value totaled over 1,000,000 shekels ($300,000).

Reuters, meanwhile, cited the results of a poll aired Wednesday on the Israeli commercial television channel Reshet, which found 49 percent of respondents siding with police claims that Mr. Netanyahu acted improperly, while 25 percent said they believed Mr. Netanyahu.

The second, Case 2000, also alleges "bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the Prime Minister" and by the publisher of the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes.

Police said that Netanyahu offered his support for a bill to close Israel Hayom, to help shrink the newspaper's circulation numbers, and to nix the free daily's weekend edition. In exchange, Netanyahu allegedly lobbied USA officials on Milchan's behalf in a visa matter and helped promote his business affairs in Israel.

But key members of Netanyahu's Likud Party rallied behind him. The law did not pass, as the government folded and went to elections in 2015. During that meeting, Trump promised Netanyahu that the U.S. Embassy would move to Jerusalem and threatened to cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority unless they agree to negotiations with Israel.


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