Netanyahu on Corruption Charges: Left Waging ‘Unprecedented Witch-hunt’

The allegations against Israeli PM Netanyahu

TEL AVIV – A deeply stirred Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening charged the left with waging an “unprecedented witch-hunt” aimed at toppling his government and replacing him with the “left-wing” Benny Gantz, an hour after the attorney-general announced his decision to indict the prime minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases against him. 

“We turned Israel into a rising world power, but not with dangerous concessions,” Netanyahu said in the press briefing. “The left knows it can’t beat us with similar achievements. So for three years it has engaged in an unprecedented political witch hunt with one purpose only: To topple the right-wing government I lead and put in power the left-wing party of [Yair] Lapid and Benny [Gantz].”

“Never in the history of Israel were positive press stories thought of as a bribe,” he said. “Only if your name is Netanyahu.”
Netanyahu was referring to Case 4000, which involves Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq. The prime minister is accused of ordering that regulations on Bezeq be eased in return for the phone company’s chief shareholder Shaul Elovitch giving Netanyahu positive coverage on his news site Walla. Earlier on Thursday evening, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his intention to charge the prime minister pending a hearing for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. Netanyahu will also be indicted for breach of trust in Case 1000 for receiving illicit gifts, and with fraud and breach of trust in Case 2000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of striking a deal with media mogul Arnon (Noni) Mozes.
“There’s one law for everyone,” Netanyahu said, “but another one for Netanyahu and the Likud.”
Netanyahu began his statement by extolling his relationship with world leaders such as President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I met in Moscow with Putin, and I told him we will continue to collaborate against Iran. I heard Trump’s words in favor of me,” Netanyahu said.

“This unique relationship with world leaders is no small matter, and for many years it has helped me to ensure our security, helped to preserve our country. The policy I lead with my friends in the Likud led Israel to the best decade in its history in security, foreign relations, the economy, in every field,” Netanyahu continued.

Switching back to the corruption probes, the Israeli premier said the cases “are all a lie.” he said. “They take the work that every spokesperson does and only in my case they make it into a criminal case.”

“Rest assured, I will refute all the allegations,” Netanyahu said.

“This whole house of cards will collapse,” he continued. “I will serve you, people of Israel, for many more years to come.”

He added, however, that his continuing to serve as prime minister depended on the Israeli elecotrate.

“It depends on you – the people. Not in clerks, not in studios, not in commentators and reporters, it’s up to you.”

“The choice is sharp as a razor-a weak Left-wing government of Lapid and Gantz with the Arabs, or a strong government in my leadership,” Netanyahu said.

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