Ne­tanyahu shrugs off po­lice cor­rup­tion claims

Iran Daily - - International -

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu on Wed­nes­day shrugged off po­lice rec­om­men­da­tions that he be charged with cor­rup­tion, calling the al­le­ga­tions “bi­ased, ex­treme: and “full of holes, like Swiss cheese” and vow­ing to re­main in of­fice.

Speak­ing at a meet­ing in Tel Aviv, Ne­tanyahu said his cab­i­net re­mains sta­ble de­spite the po­lice an­nounce­ment, and that “the truth will come to light and noth­ing will come of this,” AP wrote.

“Af­ter I read the rec­om­men­da­tions re­port I can say that this is a bi­ased, ex­treme doc­u­ment full of holes, like Swiss cheese, and doesn’t hold water,” Ne­tanyahu said.

He con­tended that the value of the gifts po­lice al­leged he re­ceived were in­flated “beyond recog­ni­tion,” and ac­cused the re­port of “try­ing to cre­ate a false im­pres­sion of ex­changes that never ex­isted.”

The po­lice an­nounce­ment late Tues­day that Ne­tanyahu ac­cepted nearly $300,000 in gifts from two bil­lion­aires dealt the em­bat­tled prime min­is­ter an em­bar­rass­ing blow af­ter years of in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but did not ap­pear to im­me­di­ately rat­tle his rule as re­ac­tion largely fell along par­ti­san lines.

Nearly all of Ne­tanyahu’s cab­i­net min­is­ters is­sued state­ments of sup­port and no coali­tion part­ners ap­peared ready to bolt.

Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Gi­lad Er­dan, in charge of the po­lice, said the prime min­is­ter “de­serves the as­sump­tion of in­no­cence,” while Ne­tanyahu’s coali­tion whip, David Am­salem, ac­cused the po­lice of com­mit­ting “an il­le­git­i­mate act here to at­tempt a coup d’etat in Is­rael.”

Op­po­si­tion politi­cians, mean­while, called for Ne­tanyahu to re­sign and urged his coali­tion al­lies to aban­don his cab­i­net. La­bor Party leader Avi Gab­bay said that Fi­nance Min­is­ter Moshe Kahlon and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett — lead­ers of two of the larger par­ties in Ne­tanyahu’s coali­tion — need to choose be­tween sup­port­ing the prime min­is­ter and up­hold­ing the rule of law.

The po­lice rec­om­men­da­tions now go to At­tor­ney Gen­eral Avi­hai Man­del­blit, 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.

On Tues­day night, Ne­tanyahu ac­cused po­lice of be­ing on a witch hunt and vowed to re­main in of­fice and even seek re­elec­tion. Ne­tanyahu has served as prime min­is­ter since 2009, and pre­vi­ously from 1996 to 1999.

REUTERS

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