Israeli opposition calls for Netanyahu resignation amid bribery charges
Israeli opposition has called for resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the police recommended indicting the prime minister and his wife Sara over bribery charges.
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Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition in the Knesset, made the comment in a Twitter post on Sunday.
“Netanyahu must go home before he destroys the law enforcement in order to save his own skin. The people of Israel deserve a clean leadership. Elections now!” she said.
Livni, who also leads the Hatnuah liberal party, issued the call shortly after the police recommended indicting the premier and his wife, as well as media mogul Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, for bribery and other corruption allegations in an investigation dubbed Case 4000.
The case involved suspicions that Netanyahu, in his role as communications minister from 2014 to 2017, while he was also the premier, made controversial decisions that benefited Shaul Elovitch, who controlled Israel's largest telecommunications company, Bezeq.
In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu’s, allegedly ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife.
The police said they had found evidence that "Netanyahu and those close to him blatantly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, in the content published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and [his wife] Iris Elovitch."
Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.
Meanwhile, head of the Labor Party Avi Gabbay, who also leads the center-left political alliance of Zionist Union, echoed Livni’s call.
"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him cannot continue at his job and must resign,” Gabbay tweeted.
“A man (Netanyahu) driven by a sick obsession of what will be said about him in the media can’t lead” Israel, he further said, adding, “Every additional day at his post means damage” to the Israeli settlers.
This is the third such police recommendation against Netanyahu in recent months. Now, the Israeli attorney general should decide whether to bring indictments in the case.
The Israeli prime minister, however, dismissed the accusations against himself and his wife, saying the recommendations had already been determined “even before the investigations began.”
The Israeli police have already recommended charging Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000 and Case 2000.
Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from businessmen overseas in Case 1000.
He is also suspected of negotiating favorable press coverage with the Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in Case 2000.
“I am certain that the authorized officials, after considering the matters, will reach the same conclusion in this case as well -- that there was nothing because there is nothing,” Netanyahu further said on Sunday.
Israelis have been holding protests to demand the prime minister’s resignation over the corruption scandals, but Netanyahu has described the events as part of efforts meant to topple him “at any cost.”