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'This House of Cards Will Collapse': Netanyahu Fights Indictment Charges, Vows to Remain Israel’s Prime Minister

03-01-2019
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Benjamin Netanyahu AP 3
Benjamin Netanyahu AP 3

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought back after Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandleblit announced he planned to indict Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust.  The charges put Netanyahu, the second longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, in the fight of his political life.  
 
Netanyahu appeared on Israeli media last night and said the indictment was an attack from the political left. 
 
"The left is doing this because they know they can't beat us in the ballot box. They simply can't beat us at the ballot box. For three years, they have been carrying out a political pursuit against us, an unprecedented hunting expedition with one goal, to topple the right-wing government led by me, and to bring to the power the leftist party of Lapid and Gantz.”
 
Retired General Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are the leaders of Israel's new Blue and White party and will challenge Netanyahu’s Likud party in Israel’s national elections on April 9.  
 
Netanyahu said the left put enormous pressure on Israel’s attorney general to influence the elections and felt confident he’d be vindicated.  
 
"I tell you the citizens of Israel, this house of cards will collapse. I am absolutely certain of that. I am certain of it 4,000 percent. I plan on serving you and the state as prime minister for many years,” Netanyahu said, in a play on words referring to the toughest case against him known as Case 4000.
 
However, Gantz said Netanyahu must resign from his post as prime minister. 
 
"People of Israel, tonight with the publication of the recommendation of the attorney general, and in the circumstances this has happened, sitting with Benjamin Netanyahu (in the same government) is off the table. I call on you, Benjamin Netanyahu, from here tonight, to come to your senses, show responsibility, and resign from your post,” Gantz said.  
 
Attorney General Mandleblit announced he would indict Netanyahu in three ongoing investigations.  In the most serious case, Netanyahu is suspected of firing Israel’s communications ministry director in exchange for favorable coverage in one of Israel’s top news sites.   
 
Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute told CBN News this is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been formally indicted. 
 
"We're entering uncharted waters, an incumbent prime minister was never indicted in Israel's history as he was still serving as prime minister. From a legal perspective, nothing will change in the immediate term before the decision on the indictment is final. Once the decision is final, there is legal ambiguity on whether the prime minister can remain in office or not. But that decision will have to be made only after the hearing process is completed, and this will take place anywhere between half-a-year and a year,” Plesner said. 
 
The indictments also threaten Netanyahu’s political future.  The current polls are so close that even if Netanyahu’s Likud party lost a few seats because of these accusations, it could turn the tide of the upcoming election. 

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