Israel PM Netanyahu defiant in face of bribery allegations
18 Feb 2018

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has hit back after police said he should be charged over alleged bribery cases.

He called the allegations “baseless” and said he was certain the truth would be revealed.

His government is “stable”, he has insisted, despite criticism from a key member of his coalition.

A police statement on Tuesday said there was enough evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

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

The 68-year-old is in his second stint as prime minister, and has served in the role for a total of 12 years.

What was Netanyahu’s response?

Benjamin Netanyahu gave a defiant rebuttal of the allegations in a statement broadcast on Israeli television on Tuesday evening.

“Over the years, I have been the subject of at least 15 inquiries and investigations,” he said.

“Some have ended with thunderous police recommendations like those of tonight. All of those attempts resulted in nothing, and this time again they will come to nothing.”

At an event in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, he repeated his insistence that he would not be resigning.

“I can reassure you that the coalition is stable,” he said. “Neither me nor anyone else has plans for elections.
We’re going to continue to work together for the good of Israeli citizens until the end of the term.”

What are the allegations?

One case centres on an allegation that Mr Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.

Police said the editor of Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes, should also face charges.

Mr Mozes’s lawyer said he had a good defence, and that after further examination of the evidence “it will become clear that he did not commit a criminal offence”.

The second allegation centres on a claim that Mr Netanyahu received gifts worth at least a million shekels ($283,000; £204,000) from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters.

– BBC

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