Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekend at his meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday. Israel's police have recommended to…
Gali Tibbon / AP
He is one of President Trump’s closest allies and on his way to becoming the longest serving prime minister in his country’s history. But after almost a decade in dispute, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is opposed to a series of allegations of corruption.
On Sunday, Israeli police recommended that Netanyahu be accused of bribery and other criminal cases – the third and most serious corruption case he has met this year. He denies wrongdoing and accuses the police of a witch hunt.
It is now up to Israel’s lawyer to decide if he should be prosecuted.
Here’s what you need to know about the allegations and how they can affect Netanyahu’s grip on power.
What are the recent charges against Netanyahu?
The police say that Netanyahu had a “bribery relationship” with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of the Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq. They say that Netanyahu’s advanced legislation benefits Elovitch, apparently when it comes to the merger of two telecom companies that called Elovitch million dollars.
In exchange, from 2012 to 2017, the police say that Netanyahu and his coworkers dictated the content of the company’s news website Walla! News, post flattering pictures and articles and remove items that were critical to Netanyahu and his family – while being involved in the rental of editors and reporters.
The police investigation of this case followed a report by 2015 by Israeli reporter Gidi Weitz in the newspaper Haaretz .
Former editors and reporters at Walla! News spoke to Israel’s investigative television program HaMakor about disturbances in their coverage.
Avner Borochov, Head of the News Desk from 2011-2013, said it began when executives instructed editors to remove a history of poverty in Israel, as the title contained a quote from an opposition legislature: “Netanyahu is blind to growing poverty. ” Avi Alkalai, former editor-in-chief of the website 2015-2016, said that “it was an attempt to paint everything that had to do with the Prime Minister’s household in a positive light and not negative.”
How serious are the charges
This is the third set of corruption charges that the police have recommended against Netanyahu this year and analysts say it is the most serious because of the major regulatory principles allegedly being given to the telecom owner . Netanyahu and his wife are accused of bribery, fraud and lack of confidence in the case, dubbed by the police case 4000.
In February, the police recommended that he be accused of bribery, fraud and lack of confidence in two other cases.
One case relates to allegations that Netanyahu received between 2007 and 2016 about $ 282,000 of gifts in the form of cigars, champagne and jewelry from Australian businessman James Packer, the past of singer Mariah Carey and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. Another case is allegations that Netanyahu offered to regulate legislation that favors a newspaper publisher in exchange for positive press coverage in the newspaper.
Will Netanyahu be accused?
The Israeli Attorney General, appointed by the prime minister, will now study the police’s recommendations and determine if there is sufficient evidence to accuse Netanyahu. It is likely to take months before he announces his decision in all three corruption cases.
The Attorney General carefully monitored the police investigation and Tal Schneider, diplomatic and political correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Globes told the NPR. She believes that the severity of police recommendations indicates that he has already decided to bring an action.
Israel’s lawyer Emanuel Gross at the University of Haifa says that in some cases the lawyers have dismissed police recommendations and did not raise criminal charges against senior officials.
Can Netanyahu survive the charges?
Maybe. According to Israeli law, a prime minister need not resign if he is prosecuted. Netanyahu has stated that if he is charged, he would face trial without going down.
Some Netanyahu political partners have previously stated that they would not sit in his government if he was facing a prosecution. But for now they are left in their ruling coalition.
Israel has expired in late 2019, although Netanyahu could call a vote earlier. Earlier polls show that his political party gets the most votes, and he has high popularity in the Israeli public. Some analysts believe that Netanyahu could seek an early election while still expected to win, to deter the lawyer from accusing him after winning a new mandate from the Israeli public despite the allegations of corruption.
Netanyahu has successfully resigned from years of negative pressure coverage and other controversies about an allegedly lavish lifestyle and his wife’s court order for the abuse of waiting staff and her alleged abuse of public funds.
Israeli economy believes that strong and Palestinian violence is relatively low, many Israeli voters believe that Netanyahu’s nearly 10 years of government has brought stability and that he can maintain Israel’s security in a turbulent region.