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Police recommend Netanyahu be indicted for bribery on two charges

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting on February 4, 2018.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting on February 4, 2018.. (photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)

Israel Police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in two cases Tuesday night, Israel’s Channel 2 and Channel 10 reported.

After a 14-month-long investigation, police announced on Tuesday that it found enough evidence to recommend the state’s prosecution to indict Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000, the “gifts affair” and Case 2000, the “Yediot Aharanot Affair.”

In Case 1000, the “gifts affair,” it is alleged that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts from different businessmen.

In Case 2000, the “Yediot Aharonot affair,” Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in Yediot Aharonot in exchange for support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest circulation Hebrew-language paper and Yediot’s biggest competitor.

Police also reccomended indicting Mozes and Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan, who is among those alleged to have given Netanyahu expensive gifts as bribes.

The prime minister, in the past, rejected both allegations claiming that “it is not illegal to accept gifts from friends” and that “Nothing will happen because nothing happened.”

At this stage, the prosecution and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will examine the evidence that police collected throughout the investigations, and will later decide whether to actually indict the prime minister or not.

Netanyahu is not required at this point to resign from office. The law says that only after a peremptory Supreme Court verdict (meaning after an appeal was submitted and rejected), the prime minister must resign from office.

These police recommendations come in the shadow of an ongoing campaign by Netanyahu to discharge the credibility of his investigators.

The premier’s attacks were made in response to remarks made by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich, who hinted that Netanyahu had sent private investigators to collect information against police officers who are involved in his case.

On Thursday, Netanyahu said on Facebook: “It’s shocking to see that he [Alsheich] is repeating the outlandish and false claim that [I] supposedly used private investigators against police officers.”

“Every decent person will ask himself: How can people who say such outlandish things regarding the prime minister then question him objectively and be impartial when it is time to reach a decision about him?” Netanyahu asked.

In four Facebook posts that followed, Netanyahu repeated the notion that if that is the situation, these recommendations are worthless.

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