Israel State Prosecutor’s Office recommends Netanyahu indictment

The State Prosecutor’s Office recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust.

By Jack Gold, Wolrd Israel News

Attorneys working on behalf of the State Prosecutor’s Office recommended on Wednesday the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery in the Case 2000 and Case 4000 corruption cases.

The state prosecutor will also charge Netanyahu for breach of trust in another corruption probe, dubbed Case 1000.

Earlier Wednesday, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan addressed the Globes conference and revealed that the team working on the cases completed its 800-page long assessment and that discussions at the attorney general’s office will commence in the coming days.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has the final say on Netanyahu’s cases. Mandelblit vowed Thursday that his office will “work quickly” but “not at the expense of quality decisions and professionalism.” Neither will the office “be influenced by anything other than the evidence and the law.”

“We aren’t pursuing anyone, only truth and justice,” he stated.

Netanyahu: No plea bargain

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the news by stating that “the leaks and the media pressure are meant this time as well to apply wrongful pressure in order to file indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at any price. We are certain that an examination of the evidence while ignoring the background noises will prove that there’s nothing [to the charges].”

Netanyahu’s lawyer Amit Hadad told IDF Radio on Thursday that his client will not accept a plea agreement according to which he would not run for re-election in return for easing the charges against him.

“We are away light years away from an indictment. There cannot be and won’t be an indictment,” he asserted.

A debate over whether or not Netanyahu should step down ensued Thursday, with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon saying that if Mandelblit recommends indicting Netanyahu, the prime minister must step down. Coalition whip David Amsalem argued that Israeli law does not require Netanyahu’s resignation and that he could remain in his position even while facing trial.

Case 1000 centers on allegations that the Netanyahu family received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cigars, champagne and other expensive gifts from wealthy supporters, possibly in exchange for favors from Netanyahu.

Case 2000 involves Netanyahu and Yediot Aharonoth owner Noni Moses, who allegedly made a pact in which the prime minister proposed to use his power to weaken the paper’s main rival, Israel Hayom. It would involve the passing of a law curbing Israel Hayom’s distribution in return for Yedioth’s reduction of negative coverage of the Netanyahu government.

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Case 4000 centers on the suspicion that as owner of Walla! News, Shaul Elovitch pressured his CEO, Ilan Yeshua, to arrange positive coverage of Netanyahu in exchange for the prime minister working to advance regulations that would benefit Elovitch in his role as Bezeq’s main shareholder. Sara Netanyahu is alleged to have pressured Elovitch’s wife, Iris, regarding the news coverage.

The police published its recommendations against Netanyahu in Case 4000 two weeks ago.

Cleared of submarine bribe case

Netanyahu was cleared of Case 3000, which alleges that leading Israeli officials received bribes in exchange for their promotion of the acquisition of a Dolphin-class submarine for Israel’s navy from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp.

The Netanyahus denied any wrongdoing on their part. The prime minister has repeatedly called the allegations a witch hunt by a “hostile media.”