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Former Israeli Defense Minister Predicts Netanyahu Will Be Indicted

Former Israel DM Moshe Ya'alon and PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Photo GPO archive, Haim Zach

JERUSALEM, Israel – Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have brought new allegations, accusing him of criminal wrongdoing.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon told CNN he believes Netanyahu will be indicted on corruption charges.

"Too many issues are under investigation," Ya'alon told CNN's Christine Amanpour. "I believe that at the end we will witness indictment."

Netanyahu is facing two possible criminal indictments, the first alleging that he and his wife, Sara, received "hundreds of thousands of shekels" in cigars and champagne from Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, the Times of Israel reported.

The report quotes Israeli State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan saying he would like to close the first investigation, dubbed Case 1000, quickly.

According to the report, Nitzan made his remarks at "an informal meet-the-public legal even that took place at Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's outdoor market.

"Because we are talking about the prime minister, our job is to accompany the investigation, the attorney general personally, and myself personally," the Times quoted Nitzan as having said.

"We had dozens of meetings to look at the progress of the investigation, but you need to understand that in investigations like this, on the one hand you want to proceed as quickly as possible, and on the other hand you can't leave any stone unturned," he said.

Case 2000 involves recorded conversations between Netanyahu and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon (Noni) Moses discussing ways to reduce the circulation of Israel Hayom, a free daily newspaper perceived as pro-Netanyahu, in exchange for "friendlier" coverage by Yediot.

Netanyahu denies the charges in both cases, dismissing them as "nothing."  

A third investigation, Case 3000, which opened in November 2016, involves Israel's purchase of German submarines.

On Monday, Israel Police questioned six key people, including Netanyahu's personal lawyer David Shimron, who's accused of favoring the German shipbuilding company, ThyssenKryupp. In January, police said Netanyahu is not suspected of wrongdoing.
In the interview with CNN, Ya'alon, who served as defense minister at that time, threatened to "tell all" if Netanyahu is not indicted.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, a report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira alleges that Netanyahu failed to reveal a possible conflict of interest while serving as communications minister, the Times reports. The accusation is based on Netanyahu's personal friendship with Bezeq head Shaul Elovitz. Bezeq is Israel's largest telecommunications provider.

"The promotion of Bezeq's interests, without a professional examination of the implications, was likely to cause real damage to competition and the public interest," Shapira stated in the report.

According to Israel's Channel 10, Netanyahu said the allegations represent "another futile attempt to create a scandal against the prime minister out of thin air."

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