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Netanyahu says bribery charges 'slanted', full of holes

15 February 2018

"I can reassure you that the coalition is stable", Netanyahu said at an event in Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.

Haaretz predicted that the police recommendations heralded Netanyahu's demise: "He knows that while this might not be the end, it's the beginning of the end".

Beloved by his base and respected even by his adversaries as a guardian of Israel's security, Netanyahu remains the dominant figure on the Israeli stage, his combined 12 years as prime minister closing in on the record of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's principal founder.

The Ministry said it believes that Netanyahu's remarks reflect the goals of the right-wing and the schemes of annexation and Judaization of the Occupied Territories, ending the chances of a two-state solution and the possibility of establishing an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

Netanyahu on Wednesday again dismissed the police recommendations, calling the allegations "biased, extreme, full of holes like Swiss cheese".

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One of the cases against Netanyahu, known as Case 1000, alleged the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust" by the prime minister.

The second case, dubbed Case 2000, 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.

A public debate has always been under way in Israel on whether Mandelblit, who has avoided interviews, might be reluctant to prosecute a sitting prime minister for the first time in Israeli history, especially one who promoted him through government ranks.

Regev said in an interview with Israel Radio: "You're allowed to receive presents from friends".

Police on Tuesday published their recommendations that Netanyahu be prosecuted for breach of trust, fraud and bribery in both of the corruption cases they have been investigating.

Despite the evidence against him, Mr Netanyahu is standing strong - for the time being.

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The decision on whether to press charges now rests with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.

In his TV address, Netanyahu said that his entire three-decade political career, which included serving as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, a stint at prime minister in the 1990s and a series of Cabinet posts, were meant only to serve the Israeli public.

Yair Lapid, head of the centrist opposition party Yesh Atid, said "there is no choice but to tell the truth when the police ask for explanations in a serious corruption case".

Mr Netanyahu's ruling coalition, too, shows no signs of weakness.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, received lavish gifts worth thousands of dollars from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for favors. However, he could face public and political pressure to step down much earlier.

Markets open on a higher note today
On a closing basis, the scrip of PNB closed at Rs 145.80, down by Rs 15.85 or 9.81 per cent from its previous close of Rs 161.65. Besides, a mixed trend in other Asian markets following positive lead from Wall Street buoyed sentiment here.

Netanyahu says bribery charges 'slanted', full of holes