Netanyahu refuses to step down as prime minister

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally charged Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different cases.

By World Israel News Staff

In a defiant tone, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will not step down as prime minister despite the indictment handed down to him on Thursday.

“I won’t step down,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Thursday. “I will continue to lead the country.”

“I’ve given my life for the State. I fought for it and was wounded for it,” he continued, adding that the indictment is “an attempt to make a government coup against the prime minister,” based on “tainted and biased investigations.”

On Thursday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally charged Netanyahu with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different cases.

The indictment against Netanyahu is based on allegations that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends (Case 1000), offered to trade favors with a newspaper publisher (Case 2000), and used his influence to help a wealthy telecom magnate in exchange for favorable coverage on a popular news site (Case 4000).

According to Netanyahu, “The Attorney General published the final indictment in a rushed fashion at this most sensitive time. The initial indictment was also published during an election.”

“The timing of this decision throws the legal process against me into question. We need law enforcement authorities that can be trusted by the public. The tainted investigation against me created new crimes – that is disgraceful to me and to Israel,” the prime minister said.

Addressing reporters, Mandelblit rejected suggestions that the decision was politically motivated.