Ne­tanyahu govt safe for now de­spite bribery row

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Reuters let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

Key coali­tion part­ners said on Wed­nes­day they would stick with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu for now, pend­ing a de­ci­sion by the at­tor­ney gen­eral whether or not to in­dict him for bribery as rec­om­mended by po­lice.

A de­ci­sion could take months and Ne­tanyahu’s govern­ment ap­peared sta­ble for the time be­ing. The right-wing pre­mier has strongly de­nied the po­lice al­le­ga­tions, call­ing them “full of holes, like Swiss cheese”.

“I want to re­as­sure you, the coali­tion is sta­ble. No one, not I, not any­one else, has plans to go to an elec­tion,” Ne­tanyahu told a con­fer­ence in Tel Aviv on Wed­nes­day, the day af­ter po­lice made their rec­om­men­da­tions pub­lic. “We will con­tinue to work with you for the good of Is­rael’s cit­i­zens un­til the end of the term,” he said.

Po­lice on Tues­day said they had found suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence for the 68-year-old Ne­tanyahu to be charged with bribery in two sep­a­rate cases, pre­sent­ing him with one of the big­gest chal­lenges to his long dom­i­nance of Is­raeli pol­i­tics. It is now up to Is­rael’s at­tor­ney gen­eral to de­cide whether to in­dict Ne­tanyahu and this could take some months to re­solve.

Ne­tanyahu has de­nied wrong­do­ing in both cases. With po­lit­i­cal sig­nals that the govern­ment re­mained solid, Is­raeli mar­kets rose on Wed­nes­day.

Defence Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man, who heads the ul­tra-na­tion­al­ist Yis­rael Beit­enu party, said that as long as Ne­tanyahu was not con­victed he should stay in of­fice. “Truly, right now we are op­er­at­ing in a very syn­chro­nised way,” he said. “There is no place here for ma­neu­ver­ing, for any other con­sid­er­a­tions,” Lieber­man told the same con­fer­ence.

Educa­tion Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, told the gath­er­ing: “Re­gard­ing the moral as­pect, the pub­lic will de­cide on vot­ing day.”



Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu

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