September 20, 2018

Report: Israeli Police Will Recommend Indicting Netanyahu

Israeli media is reporting that police will recommend indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption, although Netanyahu is downplaying the recommendations.

According to Ynet, “Police chiefs are in unanimous agreement that there is sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribe taking in Case 1,000 or the so-called ‘gifts affair.’” The announcement is expected to happen on either Feb. 12 or 13.

The “gifts affair” case involves Netanyahu allegedly accepting “illicit gifts”; for instance there is a report of Netanyahu asking for cigars during a meeting of extending the U.S. visa for Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchan, who gave Netanyahu “hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne.”

Israeli law allows the prime minister to receive “small” and “reasonable” gifts, but there is some gray area as to what gifts fall under this purview.

Netanyahu assured Israelis in a Facebook video that nothing will come of the recommendation, as the attorney general has to decide whether or not to follow through on the recommendation.

“I am certain that in the end of the day, the legal authorities can only reach one conclusion, the simple truth: There is nothing,” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is also being investigated about a possible deal discussed between him and a newspaper publisher of the paper providing more positive coverage of Netanyahu in exchange for the passage of a law that would hurt the paper’s main competitor. The police are expected to punt the issue to state prosecution.

Throughout the investigation into both matters, Netanyahu has maintained that he has not committed any wrongdoing.

“The witch-hunt to topple the government is in full swing but it will fail because of this simple reason: There will be nothing because there was nothing,” Netanyahu’s office said in an August statement.