Accusations facing Israel's Netanyahu

Accusations facing Israel's Netanyahu

Police investigating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have recommended to Israel's Attorney-General that he be charged with bribery in two cases.

In a televised address Netanyahu said he would remain Israel's leader as long as its citizens continue to elect him.

Bennett said at a meeting of local governments in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he believes in Netanyahu's "sincere motives", but "taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time is not living up to this standard" expected of the premier.

"Because I know the truth, I tell you. things will end in nothing", Netanyahu said.

Police said in a statement they were recommending Netanyahu's indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of public trust.

The attorney general's office could take months to decide if Mr Netanyahu should face charges.

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Mr Netanyahu's coalition whip, David Amsalem, dismissed the recommendations and accused the police of committing "an illegitimate act here to attempt a coup d'etat in Israel".

Netanyahu said that this was merely the latest attempt to remove him from office, and it would fail.

Netanyahu has previously accused the media of orchestrating a "witch hunt" to overthrow the most conservative governing coalition in Israel's history.

The second investigation, Case 2000, alleged "bribery, fraud, and breach of trust by the prime minister" relating to his dealings with Arnon (Noni) Mozes, publisher of the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. It said he also helped Milchan, an Israeli producer whose credits include Pretty Woman, 12 Years a Slave and JFK, in the Israeli media market.

"Even if he is not technically obliged to resign under Israeli law, a person facing such heavy accusations can not continue to serve as Prime Minister, and be responsible for the security and well-being of Israeli citizens", Lapid added, earlier today.

Key members of Mr Netanyahu's Likud Party pointed to this as proof that the investigation was politically motivated and whip Mr Amsalem angrily called Mr Lapid a "snitch". According to Lapid, Netanyahu should resign because "there is no way to run a state under such serious allegations".

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"He didn't receive bribes at all".

In recent months, police have questioned the 68-year-old prime minister several times at his official residence in Jerusalem regarding two cases in which he is a suspect. Not in a single day, not in a year, not at all, " Hadad said. "We will not let you make this a country where honest people are scared of speaking the truth", he said Wednesday to Netanyahu and his allies.

Echoing that sentiment, Yoaz Hendel, a former communications director for Mr Netanyahu, wrote in Yediot Ahronot: "Israel is more important than any person, including a prime minister". "The prime minister must show national responsibility - you can not be prime minister, foreign minister and health minister, while you spend most of your time with lawyers and dealing with media reactions".

The allegations report that Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.

While ministers and mayors are required to resign if indicted, Israeli law is less clear when it comes to the prime minister.

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