JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Israeli people shortly after the Israel Police announced they were recommending that Netanyahu be indicted for bribery and corruption.
After months of speculation, investigations and leaks to the press, Israeli police recommended that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indict Netanyahu on charges of accepting bribes and “breach of trust.” The recommendations are a political bombshell in Israel. Netanyahu’s speech following the announcement was covered by all of Israel’s major networks.
In a speech on prime time television, Netanyahu defended himself saying everything he ever did as prime minister was for “the good of the country.”
Netanyahu pointed out that he had been Israel’s ambassador to the UN and had developed the economy.
In fact, Israel’s economy has flourished and it remained fairly strong when world economies were shaken in 2008.
Netanyahu said he had worked “ as prime minister of Israel to build our country, develop it, and above all to defend it.”
Netanyahu vowed to work around the clock as he had always done to continue to lead the country.
Netanyahu has not been indicted yet but even if the Attorney General recommends indictment, it’s possible Netanyahu could remain in office. It’s also possible the attorney general could dismiss the charges or it could take months for him to make a decision.
“I’m sure that the truth will come to light, and I’m sure that also in the next elections, I will once again win your loyalty, with the grace of God,” he said.
The police investigated Netanyahu in two separate cases known as Case 1000 and Case 2000.
Case 1000 involves the contention that Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, received gifts of cigars, champagne and jewelry from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchen and Australian millionaire James Packer worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for Netanyahu pushing for what’s called the “Milchan Law.” That law would cut taxes for those Israelis who come back to Israel after being out of the country for a period of time.
Case 2000 asserts Netanyahu made a deal with Arnon Mozes, the publisher of one of Israel’s most popular daily newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth. The arrangement supposedly allowed the prime minister to receive more favorable coverage from Yehdioth Ahronoth if Netanyahu agreed to weaken its rival daily newspaper known as Israel Hayom, owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
The police statement recommended indictments on two separate investigations.
“Upon conclusion of the investigation, Case 1000, the Police have concluded that there is sufficient evidence against the PM on suspicions for the offense of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust regarding his connection with businessman Arnon Milchan and fraud and breach of trust in connection with the Australian businessman James Packer. In connection with Milchan, the position police take is that there’s sufficient evidence has been established on the suspicions of bribery.”
“Upon conclusion of the investigation case 2000, the Police have concluded that there is sufficient evidence against the PM in this case for the offense of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Against the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, Mr. Arnon (Noni) Moses, the police have concluded there is sufficient evidence that suspicions of bribery were committed.”
Netanyahu's political rivals are jockeying for position to take advantage of these charges.
Now with a possible war with Iran looming on the horizon and relations with the Palestinians at what some consider an all-time low, Israel’s longest serving prime minister is entering the battle of his political and legal life.