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Netanyahu says recommendation ‘full of holes,’ deflects blame

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Israeli police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu, February 13, 2018 (Reuters)


Israeli police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu, February 13, 2018 (Reuters)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the police recommendations to indict him in an address to the Union of Local Authorities at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Wednesday.

Netanyahu called the recommendation ugly, extremist and full of holes, like Swiss cheese. He said the recommendations failed to take into account his 20 years of friendship with Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan which included gifts going both ways over the years, and exaggerated the value of the gifts from Milchan.

“The police ignored the facts I gave them on how I actually acted against the interests of Milchan,” Netanyahu said. “I broke his monopoly on importing auto parts, which was worth a huge amount. I worked to close Channel 10, which would make his stock in the channel worth nothing. I work for the Israeli economy and society. I am working against Milchan, not for him.”

Netanyahu said that by contrast,former finance minister and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid was employed by Milchan, yet as finance minister dealt with issues related to him without excusing himself due to a conflict of interest.

“Had I done that, I would have been arrested seven times,” Netanyahu said. “But the world has been turned upside down. I got recommendations and Lapid got applause.

Regarding the case involving Yediot Aharonot and allegations that he negotiated with publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage in exchange for a bill to curb Israel Hayom, Yediot Ahronot’s main competitor, Netanyahu said that in fact he worked against the bill and voted against it.

Why was he questioned, while the 43 other MKs who supported and pushed the bill forward were not investigated, he asked. Netanyahu said the police should investigate whether former justice minister Tzipi Livni used the post to help Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.

“This is absurd,” he said.

Netanyahu claimed his governing coalition remained stable and that neither he, nor anyone in his coalition intended to initiate an election.

“We will work together until the end of the term,” he said.

Netanyahu ended his five-minute comments on the matter by repeating what he said Tuesday evening: “I am sure, as I always have been, that the truth will come to light, and nothing will come of this.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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