Israelis believe police over Netanyahu: polls

A Zionist Union billboard calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign in the face of police corruption allegations

In a speech at Tel Aviv University, Avihai Mandelblit yesterday lauded the more-than-yearlong probe into a pair of corruption scandals that have engulfed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, culminating this week when police recommended that he be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in both cases.

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett immediately criticized the prime minister for not "living up to the standards that Israelis expect", but stressed that Netanyahu is "presumed innocent until proven guilty".

NETANYAHU'S WHIPDavid Bitan, one of Netanyahu's closest allies, resigned as coalition whip in December due to suspicions that he accepted bribes as a municipal politician.

"It is the duty of every decent public figure to strengthen the police and the law and to act to end the path of the government headed by Netanyahu", he wrote on Twitter.

A decision on whether to press formal charges against him now rests with the attorney generalĀ“s office, which is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.

"Upon conclusion of the investigation Case 2000, [Israel] Police have concluded that there is sufficient evidence against the PM in this case for the offense of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust".

Police said in a statement that Netanyahu had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels ($214,000) from billionaire film producer Arnon Milchan, and in exchange Netanyahu had operated on Milchan's behalf on USA visa matters and helped Milchan with the Israeli media market.




When the reports came out on Tata's testimony in November past year, PTI had quoted an emailed statement from Tata Group: "Tata clarified that he was requested by a member of the Israeli security team to assist in preparing a concept plan for a project that was to be part of a peace initiative, to be built on the banks of the Jordan river with a free trade corridor to Haifa to offset higher logistics costs in Israel".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot attend a security counsel meeting at IDF Headquarters following the crash of an F-16 plane on February 10, 2018.

She said there was no need for Netanyahu to step down.

Netanyahu has been emphatic that he will not step down over the police recommendation to indict him, vowing that his government will serve out its full term, set to end in November 2019.

Eli Hazan, director of communications and worldwide relations for Israel's ruling Likud Party, said in an interview on Wednesday that the charges against Netanyahu are "absurd".

Yair Lapid said "like any law-abiding citizen who is asked by the police to help them get to the truth, I went and answered all their questions". "I and our terrific ministers will continue to work to make Israel into a global military, economic and technological superpower".

An ashen-faced Netanyahu said in a televised address: "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". "Maybe individuals will defect", Diskin said.

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