In a big embarrasment for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli police Tuesday recommended that Mr. Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in a pair of corruption cases.
The police, concluding a yearlong graft investigation, recommended that Mr. Netanyahu face prosecution in two corruption cases: a gifts-for-favors affair known as Case 1000, and a second scandal, called Case 2000, in which Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular newspaper Yediot Aharonot, to ensure more favorable coverage, according to a report in The New York Times. Mr. Netanyahu is also accused of accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts over 10 years.
Rejecting the accusations, Mr. Netanyahu accused police of being on a witch hunt and vowed to remain in office and even seek re-election. “I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you,” Netanyahu said in a televised address. “I am sure that the truth will come to light. And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place on time I will win your trust again, with God’s help.”
“I feel a deep obligation to continue to lead Israel in a way that will ensure our future,” he said, before embarking on a 12-minute defense of his conduct.
“You know I do everything with only one thing in mind — the good of the country,” he said. “Not for cigars from a friend, not for media coverage, not for anything. Only for the good of the state. Nothing has made me deviate, or will make me deviate, from this sacred mission.”
The police’s recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected to drag on for months.