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Netanyahu says government 'stable' after police recommend his indictment

14 February 2018

Netanyahu said he was certain that the truth would be revealed.

Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said none of Netanyahu's coalition partners have any incentive to rock the boat.

Police have also recommended indicting Netanyahu in so-called Case 2000, which involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

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

On Tuesday, Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, a bloc of Palestinian political parties in the Israeli parliament, said that Netanyahu was "corrupt and dangerous".

'Over the years, I have been the subject of at least 15 inquiries and investigations.

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

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"I will continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully for as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared he has no plan to go to early elections, as his coalition closed ranks around a leader who police say should stand trial for bribery. "We will continue working until the end of the term", he added. Police say they have this request on tape, according to the AP. Not in a single day, not in a year, not at all, " Hadad said.

The gifts allegedly included pricey cigars, jewellery and champagne.

Culture Minister Miri Regev said the gifts Netanyahu received from American billionaire Arnon Milchan that were cited in the bribery charge were merely "relations between friends". Police said Netanyahu and his family received gifts worth a total of some NIS 750,000 from the billionaire Israeli producer Arnon Milchan during an nearly decade-long period running from 2007 to 2016 and that from 2014 he had received gifts worth some NIS 250,000 from the Australian businessman James Packer, who owns a house next to the Netanyahu's residence in Caesarea. The finance ministry however refused to agree to a law that would have allowed it.

The Australian Federal Police interviewed Mr Packer last December and he reportedly corroborated previous testimony by Milchan that the gifts were organised in response to demands by the Netanyahus.

A spokesman for Packer said, "There is no allegation of wrongdoing on Mr. Packer's behalf".

What has the reaction been?

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Opposition politicians, meanwhile, called for Netanyahu to resign and urged his coalition allies to abandon his government.

"The state of Israel needs a leader whose hands are clean and who is exclusively devoted to the affairs of the country", the group's Eyal Ben-Reuven told The Times of Israel.

The allegations are that she and an aide falsely declared that there were no cooks available at the prime minister's official residence and they ordered from outside caterers at public expense.

But members of Mr Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party have been quick to defend him.

Likud party lawmaker David Amsalem, the coalition whip, dismissed the police recommendations.

Nevertheless, the State Prosecutor's Office will hold many meetings before reaching a decision, and may even initiate additional investigations to complete the cases.

Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected to drag on for months.

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"Tonight, Zionist Union backs the police investigators, the chief of police and all the law enforcement bodies who did not flinch from investigating a prime minister".

Netanyahu says government 'stable' after police recommend his indictment