Archive for the ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’ Category

Will Netanyahu’s rally intimidate state prosecution? – Israel News … – The Jerusalem Post

Rally in support of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:Lahav Harkov)

A range of top current and former officials weighed in on Thursday about whether or not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Wednesday rally will intimidate the state prosecution from indicting him.

Beyond verbally attacking the media for their portrayal of the current criminal investigations against him, some officials suggested that Netanyahu also indirectly targeted the legal establishment.

In response, Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said attempts to intimidate the legal establishment have never influenced, will not influence and it is prohibited for them to influence the prosecution from objectively performing its role.

Still, he said that such attempts are dangerous and that criminal investigations are not a political matter.

He did not say, however, if he believed the prosecution was one of Netanyahus targets.

Cohen singled out Likud MK Oren Hazan for going too far in his statements against law enforcement.

Retired Supreme Court justice and Press Council president Dalia Dorner agreed with Cohen that the rally would not affect the investigations.

We have a free, independent and impartial legal system that does its work regardless of even the most intense outside criticism, she told The Jerusalem Post.

Quoting Deuteronomy, Dorner said that you shall not tremble before any man was a principle that she and all current prosecutors and judges live by.

Although Dorner refrained from taking a position on whether Netanyahu should resign if indicted, she noted that former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar has already said the prime minister should resign due to the severity of the suspicions against him.

Meanwhile, officials from the opposite school of thought said that the rally was designed to intimidate political opposition, the media and law enforcement.

Even if law enforcement officials do their best to edit out the noise of public debate, they told the Post, Wednesdays rally was so unprecedented that it will be hard to ignore.

They cited as an example the 18-month sentence that Hebron shooter Elor Azaria received, suggesting that it would not have been as lenient had there not have been as much public pressure.

Even former prime minister Ehud Olmert was not as aggressive as Netanyahu, they said. Whereas Olmert issued statements delegitimizing charges against him and said certain law enforcement officials were on a political crusade against him, Netanyahus public rally was more aggressive in its attacks, they explained.

Those concerned about the prime minister trying to delegitimize and intimidate the legal establishment said that from personal experience, the idea that law enforcement is anti-right wing is nonsense.

Law enforcement officials have mixed political views just as regular Israelis do, and in the past were even accused by Olmert of being anti-left wing, they added.

Some officials also believe that Netanyahu must resign if indicted even if the dry letter of the law does not explicitly require it.

According to this view, Netanyahu should not remain in power if he continues to refuse to explain to the public his side of the story, beyond what he has said: There will be nothing because there is nothing.

This view is based on the idea that even if public figures have a right to the presumption of innocence like normal citizens, they have a greater obligation to explain their actions to the public.

Those with this view say the rally, the political threats leveled against ministers so that they would attend and the time and energy put into organizing the event, are Exhibit A as to how much the investigations are distracting Netanyahu from doing his job.

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Will Netanyahu’s rally intimidate state prosecution? – Israel News … – The Jerusalem Post

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August 11, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Press Council head calls Netanyahu’s attack on media ‘pathetic’ – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a rally.. (photo credit:AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The head of the Press Council, retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, responded fiercely on Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus criticism of the media in his address to Likud members the previous night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government….

Their goal is to put inappropriate pressure on law enforcement, with no connection to justice.

A sign in the crowd at the Fairgrounds read, Its not fake news, its f***ing news.

Dorner told Israel Radio it was pathetic to attack the press and that making the press into the enemy of the nation is anti-democratic.

He is going through a tough time and it is not easy for a man of his stature to deal with that, she said. But he should care about the standing of our democracy as well. I have seen the way journalists are preyed upon in other kinds of regimes.

The Press Council released a statement warning against Netanyahu trying to paint the press as an enemy, saying it endangers the democratic nature of Israeli society.

The statement said Netanyahus investigations are proceeding according to the law and the prime minister was wrong to conflate the press and the legal processes of his probes.

The press will continue to report on the investigations as long as they take place, because that is their obligation to the public, the Press Council said. Wrongly characterizing reporters as adversaries of the nation could harm their ability cover the situation and inform the public. Investigative journalists who are trying to reveal information the public has a right to know must not be harmed.

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Press Council head calls Netanyahu’s attack on media ‘pathetic’ – The Jerusalem Post

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Despite Netanyahu visit, work on southern security barrier still frozen – The Jerusalem Post

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours sections of the West Bank security barriers southern loop yesterday with members of the security cabinet and others. . (photo credit:GPO)

Work on some 100 kilometers of the West Bank security barrier in Gush Etzion and the Judean Hills remains frozen after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the security cabinet toured the area on Tuesday.

Netanyahu had been expected to announce renewed work on the barrier after a Palestinian from Yatta in the South Hebron Hills stabbed Niv Nehemiah in a supermarket in Yavne.

According to settlers and political sources, the security cabinet was due to debate and vote on resumption of the work, which along with the rest of the barrier, has been largely frozen for the last 10 years.

On Twitter, the Prime Ministers Office and Netanyahu himself released a number of short videos showing the tour.

These included pictures of Netanyahu poring over maps, looking as if he was about to take action.

Completing the barrier in that area would have cost NIS 3 billion, said Kfar Etzion Field School director Yaron Rosenthal.

His school along with the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Palestinians in the area and environmental groups have opposed its construction.

In the morning, Rosenthals school sent a number of messages on the subject to the media and activists, warning them of the pending security cabinet vote.

By night, Rosenthal said, Netanyahu had backed down from the matter when he saw he did not have enough support from the security cabinet to approve resumption of the project.

We are happy that the security cabinet ministers understood that the security results of the barrier paled in comparison to the harm building it would cause, said Rosenthal.

If it is built, the separation barrier will destroy the area of the Judean Hills and the Gush Etzion, which is among the most beautiful in the country, he said. We think that there is no security justification to destroy the nature, and heritage. We want to leave the homeland to our grandchildren as we received it.

The issue in that region has been considered dormant since 2015, when the Defense Ministry told the High Court of Justice it did not plan to build the barrier in Gush Etzion at the time, but reserved the right to reconsider that decision.

Gideon Bromberg, Israeli co-director of EcoPeace Middle East, warned: The Judean Desert area around Ein Gedi is a critical corridor for wildlife and there is a real concern here for the survival of the species there that are already under tremendous stress.

The barrier is also slated to run through Battir, with its drip irrigation and 4,000-year-old terraces, inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

In the last year, the Defense Ministry has worked on rebuilding 42 km. of the barrier in the South Hebron Hills, as it stretches along the Green Line. But it has not substantively worked on the 45-km. stretch from that barrier through Gush Etzion to Jerusalem. Nor has it worked on the 55 km. of barrier from the Dead Sea up to Yatir.

In 2006, the government voted for 790 km. of the barrier, of which some 470 have been constructed. In 2016, the Defense Ministry spoke of a 541- km. route that would not include the loops around the blocs of Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim or Ariel.

The wave of violence that began in 2015 has renewed focus on the barrier.

Since then, Netanyahu has vowed at least twice to complete the gaps in the structure.

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A corruption investigation could bring down Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Vox

A long-running corruption scandal in Israel has taken an explosive new turn, leading to the very real prospect that Israels long-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will lose his job and even potentially be sent to jail.

Netanyahu, arguably Donald Trumps closest ally in the Middle East, has been shadowed by allegations of financial improprieties for years, but has always stayed one step ahead of his pursuers. That seems to be changing.

The latest and potentially decisive blows to Netanyahu began last week with a pair of disclosures that stunned observers on both sides of Israels political spectrum.

On Thursday, court filings revealed Netanyahu was now officially a suspect in bribery, breach of trust, and fraud cases. Another shocker came that same day with news that Netanyahus former chief of staff, an Israeli-American named Ari Harow, took a plea bargain to become a states witness in a corruption case against his former boss. In exchange for a light sentence of community service, and a 700,000 shekel ($193,000) fine, Harow will now testify against Netanyahu.

Its not just the prime minister his whole household is under scrutiny: The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday that his wife, Sara Netanyahu, will likely be indicted soon for misuse of government funds.

For most politicians, those types of disclosures would mean it was a question of when, not if, their careers would end in disgrace. But Netanyahu has long been the phoenix of Israeli politics, and he angrily dismissed the new revelations. On Facebook he derisively called them background noise.

Miri Regev, the minister of sports and culture and a close Netanyahu ally, told the press, Im not worried at all. The prime minister is not worried either.

So far many of Netanyahus allies have remained behind him. But if his legal woes continue, that could change. And while its still too early to assess the likelihood of incarceration, prison is not totally out of the question. After all former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was only just released from prison after serving 16 months for a different corruption charge.

To be sure, an indictment might not mean the end of Netanyahus political career. Formally, he wont have to resign, Hebrew University law professor Barak Medina told the Associated Press. [I]f all the information comes out and the police recommend he be charged with a serious crime, it is unlikely he will be able to carry on in his job.

That wouldnt just be bad news for Netanyahu, who is trying to surpass David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the modern Jewish State, as the longest-serving prime minister in his countrys history. It would also be bad news for President Donald Trump, whod be losing his closest ally in the Middle East just as he prepares a major new peace initiative.

There are so many separate corruption charges threatening to finally bring down Netanyahu that the Israeli press refers to them by numbers.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is suspected to have colluded with Arnon Mozes, publisher of Israels daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot to undermine the circulation of Israels free daily paper, Israel HaYom. The latter is a free daily sponsored by American billionaire (and Republican king-maker) Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate with tremendous reach and influence on Israeli politics.

Back in January the police revealed they had tapes that would show what the Israel press called a quid pro quo deal between Mozes and Netanyahu. Mozes apparently promised to do everything in his power to keep Netanyahu in office, Netanyahu, in turn, appears to have indicated he would do what he could to limit Israel HaYoms reach some reports implied that might have meant through legislation.

The recordings were made by Ari Harow, the very same chief of staff who cut the deal last week.

Israeli police found those tapes, apparently unexpectedly, while searching Harows home for evidence that he had not fully divested himself from his own consulting firm before beginning work in the prime ministers office. (Harow had officially transferred the firm to his brother, to avoid ethics violations; that gambit clearly failed).

In Case 1000, Arnon Milchan, a film producer, is said to have given large monetary gifts to Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Further, Australian billionaire James Packer was said to have showered the couple with gifts and meals at their home in the Israeli coastal city Ceasaria. As Noam Sheizaf reported for Vox earlier this year, in one incident reported by the Israeli media, Netanyahus wife, Sara, specifically demanded $2,700 worth of jewelry.

For their part, the Netanyahus have said the gifts were merely (legal) gifts between friends. But, as Sheizaf pointed out, Milchan has a stake in Israels Channel 10 news, subject to regulation by the Israeli Ministry of Communications which, itself, was run by Netanyahu until recently. And Netanyahu personally got involved in Milchans visa renewal process. None of it smelled quite kosher.

A third criminal investigation, Case 3000, involves the purchase of German submarines. This one is the most complicated, and has the most tenuous line to Netanyahu. Six people have been brought in for questioning, one of whom is Netanyahus personal lawyer who himself also represented the submarine manufacturer. Haaretz reported late last month that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus personal lawyer was due to earn tens of millions of shekels from an agreement, since suspended, to buy three submarines from Germany.

Finally, Israeli authorities have long threatened to indict Sara Netanyahu for fraud. As Haaretz reported today, she is accused of using government money to pay for what they call personal expenses in her private home. The countrys attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, is expected to indict her within the next few days.

Netanyahaus political fate has long rested in the hands of Mandelblit, who has a mixed reputation in Israel. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a longtime Netanyahu rival, has publicly criticized the attorney general for failing to indict and prosecute the prime minister more quickly. Barak and other critics point to Mandelblits previous job as a cabinet secretary, which involved working closely with Netanyahu. Mandelblits ascension was considered a win for Netanyahu when he took the position.

But a high-level police investigator told Noam Sheizaf earlier this year that that slow movement might mean Mandeblit was taking his time to build a stronger case against the prime minister. That doesnt mean an indictment will come tomorrow. But it makes an indictment seem likelier.

Sima Kadmon, a political columnist in Israel, wrote at the end of last week that Harow is the game changer because he was so close to the prime minister, noting that Harow once served as Netanyahus foreign relations advisor and held a variety of other senior posts for the last decade.

That means Harrow has had unique access to Netanyahus activities for the last several years and can speak, as few others can, to their legality.

All that said, prosecuting Netanyahu may still be months, or even years, away.

This feels like we are at the beginning of the end, said Daniel Levy, the president of the US Middle East Project.

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A corruption investigation could bring down Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Vox

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Netanyahu: It’s impossible to hermetically seal border – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Niv Nehemiah yesterday at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Nehemiah was stabbed last week by a terrorist at a supermarket in Yavne.. (photo credit:KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

It is not possible to hermetically seal the countrys boundaries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday after touring the security barrier in the South with the security cabinet and then visiting Niv Nehemiah in the hospital.

Nehemiah was stabbed in the neck, head and chest some 15 times last week at a supermarket in Yavne by Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, 19, from the West Bank village of Yatta, who slipped across the Green Line in the South Hebron Hills near where Netanyahu toured on Tuesday.

Nehemiah, 42 and the father of five, was taken to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot in critical condition, but his situation has since improved and he regained consciousness two days ago.

After visiting Nehemiah, Netanyahu said he toured the area near where the terrorist crossed the Green Line, saying that Israel had already placed a number of obstacles there, including some that he would not detail.

But, Netanyahu said, one thing is for sure, there will never be a hermetically sealed border. In the final analysis, the true response is our courage and the willingness to fight these murderers and those who send them.

Netanyahu said that Nehemiah demonstrated that courage by fending off and stopping with his bare hands a hate-filled terrorist armed with a knife. The premier said Nehemiah prevented a great tragedy.

Netanyahu said that the country prayed that Nehemiah would emerge from his life-threatening condition, and that according to what he saw in the hospital, the prayers were answered and he will indeed come out of this.

I saw him with his family, and it simply warms the heart, Netanyahu said.

Amid the constant drumbeat of news about police investigations and his former chief of staff Ari Harow who turned states witness over the weekend, Netanyahu placed an 83-second video of his tour on his Facebook page, including shots of him in the army helicopter flying near the barrier.

Alongside the video, he wrote: Today with the security cabinet on a tour of the security fence in the South Hebron Hills. My primary mission is to preserve Israels security and ensure its future.

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Is Likud ready for the post-Netanyahu era? – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Tzachi Braverman, and Yisrael Katz at security cabinet meeting. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

It was then-Knesset speaker Avraham Burg who first compared Shimon Peres to an evergreen tree stately and impressive but nothing can grow underneath.

Since then, that comparison has been made many times by those in the Likud about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the comparison actually fits Netanyahu better, because at least Peres tried to build up future leadership under him, while Netanyahu kills any potential future threat.

Moshe Kahlon was once his No. 2 in the Likud. Hes in a different party now, due to his personal disputes with Netanyahu. Former Netanyahu aides Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman head different parties as well, instead of working underneath him.

Gideon Saar never left the Likud, but he left his post as interior minister and took a break from politics, realizing that after being No. 2 on the Likud Knesset candidates list, there is no way to go up until Netanyahu leaves.

The assumption all along has been that the Likud needs Netanyahu more than Netanyahu needs the Likud. No potential successor could measure up to him. No one even tried to run against him in the last Likud leadership race.

After all, he is an internationally respected statesman. One of the heads of an international credit agency even recently said that Netanyahu is the only leader in the world who gets along very well with both US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But there is also another theory that remains untested. Perhaps Netanyahu actually needs the Likud more than the party needs him. Maybe the party would even be better off without him.

That theory was substantiated by a groundbreaking Statnet poll broadcast Sunday night on Channel 10, which found that Netanyahus departure from politics due to his criminal investigations could end up helping the Likud.

According to the poll, if an election were held now and Netanyahu remained the head of the Likud, the party would win 27 Knesset seats. But if the Likud were led by one of its other leaders, it would win four additional seats and end up with 31, one more than Netanyahu won at the helm of the party two years ago.

When asked who would be most fit to lead the Right if Netanyahu does not run, 23% of respondents chose Saar, who fared much better than any other candidate. But Bayit Yehudi officials were quick to point out that Bennett actually got slightly higher support than Saar among respondents who voted for the Likud or Bayit Yehudi.

What the poll indicated was that Netanyahu damages the Likud. Even though he is innocent until proven guilty, he brings the Likud an image of corruption that it tried so hard to rid itself of, following a Knesset list that featured the daughter of a mobster, a ministers driver, an MK who voted twice by mistake, and a deputy minister who paid for her voters to stay in a fancy hotel.

Netanyahu also harms the Likud with his personality. It is no secret that it is difficult to get along with the man.

Then-US president Barack Obama and then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy said it in 2011, when they did not know their microphones were on. Nearly every Likud minister would say the same to an intermediary they thought they could trust.

When Netanyahu goes and it will happen sooner or later, because no one lives forever Kahlon, Liberman and Bennett can come back. The Right may no longer be divided into different parties whose difference of opinion on key issues is minimal.

Saar maintains a good relationship with all three exiled party leaders, and he has been careful to speak only positively about Netanyahu since he returned to politics in April. He wrote on Facebook Sunday that he has worked well with the prime minister and there is no reason for him to resign.

It has not been easy for me as a Likud member, a citizen of the country, and a partner in the Rights path, to hear the news over the past few days, Saar wrote. I hope the prime minister will emerge from his dire straits.

Saar wisely decided to be out of the country during Wednesday nights pro-Netanyahu rally. The last thing he needs is to be cheered louder than Netanyahu at the event, or even worse, to be booed.

He did not want to face Netanyahus wrath, which is currently targeted at Transportation Minister Israel Katz, whom Netanyahu accused this week of undermining and trying to replace him.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is currently Netanyahus No. 2 in the Likud, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other potential successors are all keeping a low profile. Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter was seen as criticizing Netanyahu and then immediately took it back.

When facing a stately evergreen tree, it is never wise to go too far out on a limb.

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Is Likud ready for the post-Netanyahu era? – The Jerusalem Post

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Benjamin Netanyahu being investigated for fraud, breach of …

Details into Israeli authorities’ investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally emerged on Thursday, following months of questions and media speculation.

A court order issued by the police to an Israelicourt disclosed that the prime minister was being investigated “on suspicion of the commission of the felonies of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.”

Read more:Israel arrests Netanyahu allies over German submarine deal

Police had principally been seeking acourt injunction aimed at barring publication of “any details from the negotiations under way with (former Netanyahu aide) Ari Harrow and counsel.” However, the court also disclosed Netanyahu’s suspected wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Harrow, Netanyahu’s former chief-of-staff, has agreed to testify in two cases against his former boss. Israeli media say Harrow reached a deal with the prosecutors on Friday.

Multiple allegations facing “Bibi”

Netanyahu’s suspected wrongdoing revolves around two separate cases. The first case, known as File 1,000, relates to illegal gifts received by Netanyahu and his family from business associates, including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. File 2,000, meanwhile, concerns alleged attempts by the prime minister to strike a deal with the publisherof the Yediot Ahronot newspaper group, offering legislation that would weaken the publisher’s competitors in exchange for favorable coverage.

Netanyahuhas denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman for the Israeli premier responded to the court order on Thursday, saying he was the victim “a witch-hunt, now at its peak, aimed at changing the government.”

Read more:Netanyahu slams UN, denies corruption on Australia visit

The spokesman continued: “This is destined to fail, for a simple reason: Nothing will happen because nothing happened.”

However, Odelia Carmon, another former aide of Netanyahu’s who worked alongside Harrow, said that if the former aide wereto testify, the revelations would be a “bombshell.”

“He dealt with raising donations, he dealt with the finances, he dealt with state secrets,” Carmon told a local radio station on Wednesday. “So this is not someone that Netanyahu can disavow, and I further believe he has everything documented.”

According to Israeli media, Harrow owns recordings of Netanyahu’s conversations with Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes.

Justice shines a light on Israeli politics

Netanyahu isn’t the first Israeli leader to have faced a criminal probe. In 2014, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery, while Ariel Sharon was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and illegal campaign financing activities.

Netanyahu has also found himself tied up in a separate investigation over a $2 billion deal to buy German submarines, which has led to the arrests of seven public officials and private business people. Although the prime minister isn’t implicated in the case, his personal lawyer and second cousin is representing the local agent of German manufacturer, ThyssenKrupp, and is believed to have helped push the deal.

dm/gsw(AP, dpa, Reuters)

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Israeli Supreme Court orders Benjamin Netanyahu to reveal conversations with GOP donor Sheldon Adelson – Washington Examiner

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conversations with casino magnate and GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson are a matter of public interest and must be disclosed.

According to the ruling, Netanyahu must disclose the dates of his phone conversations with the conservative gambling mogul who is a financier of and publisher of a free Israel newspaper.

The Adelson-funded Israel Hayom is widely perceived as strongly supportive of Netanyahu and the phone calls may offer further insights into any links that could exist between Netanyahu’s administration and the publication, along with any potential conflicts of interest.

Netanyahu has been under fire for amidst legal troubles that include criminal probes into whether he attempted to arrange more favorable coverage from the publisher of a rival publication in exchange for curbing Israel Hayom’s circulation numbers.

Israeli police disclosed last week that Netanyahu is suspected of crimes involving fraud, breach of trust and bribes.

Netanyahu maintains that he has committed no wrongdoing.

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With indictment in question, Likud members come out swinging for Netanyahu – The Jerusalem Post

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 21, 2017.. (photo credit:EMIL SALMAN/POOL)

Likud ministers and members of Knesset took to the media Sunday morning in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a weekend of dramatic developments in the police case that has him suspected of corruption and other criminal activities. Their main message to the press and the public is that the prime minister has done nothing wrong and that calls for his ousting are politically motivated and an unlawful attempt to depose the government by non-democratic means.

Netanyahu is currently being investigated in three separate cases, nicknamed cases 1000, 2000 and 3000 by the press. He faces possible charges for accepting gifts from a wealthy friend in exchange for political favors, colluding with Yediot Aharonot’s publisher for favorable coverage and for involvement in a corruption case surrounding the purchase of German submarines.

Netanyahu’s situation was complicated last week by the fact that his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, signed a state’s witness deal. By doing so, Harow is protecting himself – evading possible jail time to instead complete 6 months of community service and pay a 700,000 NIS fine – but also suggesting Netanyahu’s guilt.

Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud MK and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of national security and foreign affairs, shared his doubts about the indictment process. In an interview on Army Radio, he said that the court’s reaching of a decision that would theoretically remove Netanyahu from office could take three or four years, meaning that it could come after the next elections take place in 2019.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be allowed to fulfill his duties in accordance with the mandate he received from the public, in a state of law and democratic rule, not to dismiss a prime minister based on media headlines, opposition demonstrations or partial investigative procedures. I trust the law enforcement system will carry out its work with the professionalism and responsibility required to enable the State of Israel to continue to deal adequately with the complex challenges it faces.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) on Saturday also stated that Netanyahu could stay in office even if he’s indicted.

From the legal perspective, if theres an indictment, the prime minister doesnt have to resign, Shaked explained on Channel 2’s Meet the Press. There is the side of values, and that is a question that coalition parties will have to ask themselves if we reach that day, but we arent there. Theres still a long process.

Shaked called for letting the government and the prime minister do their jobs.

Politicians from the opposition, meanwhile, take it as a given that Netanyahu should leave his post, some saying such a move has been long overdue. Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told Army Radio Sunday that he believes the public has tired of leaders tainted by corruption and wrongdoing, but that he had few expectations from Netanyahu’s allies to stand up for the rule of law since it doesn’t serve them politically at the moment.

The Israeli public also had their say with two protests taking place near Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblits home in Petah Tikva for the 37th consecutive Saturday night. One of the protests, attended by some 2,000 people, called for Mandelblit to indict the prime minister, while the other was a pro-Netanyahu counter-demonstration organized by coalition chairman David Bitan and fellow Likud lawmakers, which was attended by some 150 people.

Lahav Harkov and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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Will Netanyahu’s rally intimidate state prosecution? – Israel News … – The Jerusalem Post

Rally in support of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:Lahav Harkov) A range of top current and former officials weighed in on Thursday about whether or not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus Wednesday rally will intimidate the state prosecution from indicting him. Beyond verbally attacking the media for their portrayal of the current criminal investigations against him, some officials suggested that Netanyahu also indirectly targeted the legal establishment. In response, Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen said attempts to intimidate the legal establishment have never influenced, will not influence and it is prohibited for them to influence the prosecution from objectively performing its role. Still, he said that such attempts are dangerous and that criminal investigations are not a political matter. He did not say, however, if he believed the prosecution was one of Netanyahus targets. Cohen singled out Likud MK Oren Hazan for going too far in his statements against law enforcement. Retired Supreme Court justice and Press Council president Dalia Dorner agreed with Cohen that the rally would not affect the investigations. We have a free, independent and impartial legal system that does its work regardless of even the most intense outside criticism, she told The Jerusalem Post. Quoting Deuteronomy, Dorner said that you shall not tremble before any man was a principle that she and all current prosecutors and judges live by. Although Dorner refrained from taking a position on whether Netanyahu should resign if indicted, she noted that former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar has already said the prime minister should resign due to the severity of the suspicions against him. Meanwhile, officials from the opposite school of thought said that the rally was designed to intimidate political opposition, the media and law enforcement. Even if law enforcement officials do their best to edit out the noise of public debate, they told the Post, Wednesdays rally was so unprecedented that it will be hard to ignore. They cited as an example the 18-month sentence that Hebron shooter Elor Azaria received, suggesting that it would not have been as lenient had there not have been as much public pressure. Even former prime minister Ehud Olmert was not as aggressive as Netanyahu, they said. Whereas Olmert issued statements delegitimizing charges against him and said certain law enforcement officials were on a political crusade against him, Netanyahus public rally was more aggressive in its attacks, they explained. Those concerned about the prime minister trying to delegitimize and intimidate the legal establishment said that from personal experience, the idea that law enforcement is anti-right wing is nonsense. Law enforcement officials have mixed political views just as regular Israelis do, and in the past were even accused by Olmert of being anti-left wing, they added. Some officials also believe that Netanyahu must resign if indicted even if the dry letter of the law does not explicitly require it. According to this view, Netanyahu should not remain in power if he continues to refuse to explain to the public his side of the story, beyond what he has said: There will be nothing because there is nothing. This view is based on the idea that even if public figures have a right to the presumption of innocence like normal citizens, they have a greater obligation to explain their actions to the public. Those with this view say the rally, the political threats leveled against ministers so that they would attend and the time and energy put into organizing the event, are Exhibit A as to how much the investigations are distracting Netanyahu from doing his job. Share on facebook

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August 11, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Press Council head calls Netanyahu’s attack on media ‘pathetic’ – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a rally.. (photo credit:AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) The head of the Press Council, retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, responded fiercely on Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus criticism of the media in his address to Likud members the previous night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of being one and the same, together on an obsessive, unprecedented witch-hunt against me and my family, seeking to overthrow the government…. Their goal is to put inappropriate pressure on law enforcement, with no connection to justice. A sign in the crowd at the Fairgrounds read, Its not fake news, its f***ing news. Dorner told Israel Radio it was pathetic to attack the press and that making the press into the enemy of the nation is anti-democratic. He is going through a tough time and it is not easy for a man of his stature to deal with that, she said. But he should care about the standing of our democracy as well. I have seen the way journalists are preyed upon in other kinds of regimes. The Press Council released a statement warning against Netanyahu trying to paint the press as an enemy, saying it endangers the democratic nature of Israeli society. The statement said Netanyahus investigations are proceeding according to the law and the prime minister was wrong to conflate the press and the legal processes of his probes. The press will continue to report on the investigations as long as they take place, because that is their obligation to the public, the Press Council said. Wrongly characterizing reporters as adversaries of the nation could harm their ability cover the situation and inform the public. Investigative journalists who are trying to reveal information the public has a right to know must not be harmed. Share on facebook

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Despite Netanyahu visit, work on southern security barrier still frozen – The Jerusalem Post

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours sections of the West Bank security barriers southern loop yesterday with members of the security cabinet and others. . (photo credit:GPO) Work on some 100 kilometers of the West Bank security barrier in Gush Etzion and the Judean Hills remains frozen after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the security cabinet toured the area on Tuesday. Netanyahu had been expected to announce renewed work on the barrier after a Palestinian from Yatta in the South Hebron Hills stabbed Niv Nehemiah in a supermarket in Yavne. According to settlers and political sources, the security cabinet was due to debate and vote on resumption of the work, which along with the rest of the barrier, has been largely frozen for the last 10 years. On Twitter, the Prime Ministers Office and Netanyahu himself released a number of short videos showing the tour. These included pictures of Netanyahu poring over maps, looking as if he was about to take action. Completing the barrier in that area would have cost NIS 3 billion, said Kfar Etzion Field School director Yaron Rosenthal. His school along with the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Palestinians in the area and environmental groups have opposed its construction. In the morning, Rosenthals school sent a number of messages on the subject to the media and activists, warning them of the pending security cabinet vote. By night, Rosenthal said, Netanyahu had backed down from the matter when he saw he did not have enough support from the security cabinet to approve resumption of the project. We are happy that the security cabinet ministers understood that the security results of the barrier paled in comparison to the harm building it would cause, said Rosenthal. If it is built, the separation barrier will destroy the area of the Judean Hills and the Gush Etzion, which is among the most beautiful in the country, he said. We think that there is no security justification to destroy the nature, and heritage. We want to leave the homeland to our grandchildren as we received it. The issue in that region has been considered dormant since 2015, when the Defense Ministry told the High Court of Justice it did not plan to build the barrier in Gush Etzion at the time, but reserved the right to reconsider that decision. Gideon Bromberg, Israeli co-director of EcoPeace Middle East, warned: The Judean Desert area around Ein Gedi is a critical corridor for wildlife and there is a real concern here for the survival of the species there that are already under tremendous stress. The barrier is also slated to run through Battir, with its drip irrigation and 4,000-year-old terraces, inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in Danger. In the last year, the Defense Ministry has worked on rebuilding 42 km. of the barrier in the South Hebron Hills, as it stretches along the Green Line. But it has not substantively worked on the 45-km. stretch from that barrier through Gush Etzion to Jerusalem. Nor has it worked on the 55 km. of barrier from the Dead Sea up to Yatir. In 2006, the government voted for 790 km. of the barrier, of which some 470 have been constructed. In 2016, the Defense Ministry spoke of a 541- km. route that would not include the loops around the blocs of Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim or Ariel. The wave of violence that began in 2015 has renewed focus on the barrier. Since then, Netanyahu has vowed at least twice to complete the gaps in the structure. Share on facebook

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

A corruption investigation could bring down Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Vox

A long-running corruption scandal in Israel has taken an explosive new turn, leading to the very real prospect that Israels long-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will lose his job and even potentially be sent to jail. Netanyahu, arguably Donald Trumps closest ally in the Middle East, has been shadowed by allegations of financial improprieties for years, but has always stayed one step ahead of his pursuers. That seems to be changing. The latest and potentially decisive blows to Netanyahu began last week with a pair of disclosures that stunned observers on both sides of Israels political spectrum. On Thursday, court filings revealed Netanyahu was now officially a suspect in bribery, breach of trust, and fraud cases. Another shocker came that same day with news that Netanyahus former chief of staff, an Israeli-American named Ari Harow, took a plea bargain to become a states witness in a corruption case against his former boss. In exchange for a light sentence of community service, and a 700,000 shekel ($193,000) fine, Harow will now testify against Netanyahu. Its not just the prime minister his whole household is under scrutiny: The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday that his wife, Sara Netanyahu, will likely be indicted soon for misuse of government funds. For most politicians, those types of disclosures would mean it was a question of when, not if, their careers would end in disgrace. But Netanyahu has long been the phoenix of Israeli politics, and he angrily dismissed the new revelations. On Facebook he derisively called them background noise. Miri Regev, the minister of sports and culture and a close Netanyahu ally, told the press, Im not worried at all. The prime minister is not worried either. So far many of Netanyahus allies have remained behind him. But if his legal woes continue, that could change. And while its still too early to assess the likelihood of incarceration, prison is not totally out of the question. After all former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was only just released from prison after serving 16 months for a different corruption charge. To be sure, an indictment might not mean the end of Netanyahus political career. Formally, he wont have to resign, Hebrew University law professor Barak Medina told the Associated Press. [I]f all the information comes out and the police recommend he be charged with a serious crime, it is unlikely he will be able to carry on in his job. That wouldnt just be bad news for Netanyahu, who is trying to surpass David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the modern Jewish State, as the longest-serving prime minister in his countrys history. It would also be bad news for President Donald Trump, whod be losing his closest ally in the Middle East just as he prepares a major new peace initiative. There are so many separate corruption charges threatening to finally bring down Netanyahu that the Israeli press refers to them by numbers. In Case 2000, Netanyahu is suspected to have colluded with Arnon Mozes, publisher of Israels daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot to undermine the circulation of Israels free daily paper, Israel HaYom. The latter is a free daily sponsored by American billionaire (and Republican king-maker) Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate with tremendous reach and influence on Israeli politics. Back in January the police revealed they had tapes that would show what the Israel press called a quid pro quo deal between Mozes and Netanyahu. Mozes apparently promised to do everything in his power to keep Netanyahu in office, Netanyahu, in turn, appears to have indicated he would do what he could to limit Israel HaYoms reach some reports implied that might have meant through legislation. The recordings were made by Ari Harow, the very same chief of staff who cut the deal last week. Israeli police found those tapes, apparently unexpectedly, while searching Harows home for evidence that he had not fully divested himself from his own consulting firm before beginning work in the prime ministers office. (Harow had officially transferred the firm to his brother, to avoid ethics violations; that gambit clearly failed). In Case 1000, Arnon Milchan, a film producer, is said to have given large monetary gifts to Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Further, Australian billionaire James Packer was said to have showered the couple with gifts and meals at their home in the Israeli coastal city Ceasaria. As Noam Sheizaf reported for Vox earlier this year, in one incident reported by the Israeli media, Netanyahus wife, Sara, specifically demanded $2,700 worth of jewelry. For their part, the Netanyahus have said the gifts were merely (legal) gifts between friends. But, as Sheizaf pointed out, Milchan has a stake in Israels Channel 10 news, subject to regulation by the Israeli Ministry of Communications which, itself, was run by Netanyahu until recently. And Netanyahu personally got involved in Milchans visa renewal process. None of it smelled quite kosher. A third criminal investigation, Case 3000, involves the purchase of German submarines. This one is the most complicated, and has the most tenuous line to Netanyahu. Six people have been brought in for questioning, one of whom is Netanyahus personal lawyer who himself also represented the submarine manufacturer. Haaretz reported late last month that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus personal lawyer was due to earn tens of millions of shekels from an agreement, since suspended, to buy three submarines from Germany. Finally, Israeli authorities have long threatened to indict Sara Netanyahu for fraud. As Haaretz reported today, she is accused of using government money to pay for what they call personal expenses in her private home. The countrys attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, is expected to indict her within the next few days. Netanyahaus political fate has long rested in the hands of Mandelblit, who has a mixed reputation in Israel. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a longtime Netanyahu rival, has publicly criticized the attorney general for failing to indict and prosecute the prime minister more quickly. Barak and other critics point to Mandelblits previous job as a cabinet secretary, which involved working closely with Netanyahu. Mandelblits ascension was considered a win for Netanyahu when he took the position. But a high-level police investigator told Noam Sheizaf earlier this year that that slow movement might mean Mandeblit was taking his time to build a stronger case against the prime minister. That doesnt mean an indictment will come tomorrow. But it makes an indictment seem likelier. Sima Kadmon, a political columnist in Israel, wrote at the end of last week that Harow is the game changer because he was so close to the prime minister, noting that Harow once served as Netanyahus foreign relations advisor and held a variety of other senior posts for the last decade. That means Harrow has had unique access to Netanyahus activities for the last several years and can speak, as few others can, to their legality. All that said, prosecuting Netanyahu may still be months, or even years, away. This feels like we are at the beginning of the end, said Daniel Levy, the president of the US Middle East Project.

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu: It’s impossible to hermetically seal border – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Niv Nehemiah yesterday at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Nehemiah was stabbed last week by a terrorist at a supermarket in Yavne.. (photo credit:KOBI GIDEON/GPO) It is not possible to hermetically seal the countrys boundaries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday after touring the security barrier in the South with the security cabinet and then visiting Niv Nehemiah in the hospital. Nehemiah was stabbed in the neck, head and chest some 15 times last week at a supermarket in Yavne by Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram, 19, from the West Bank village of Yatta, who slipped across the Green Line in the South Hebron Hills near where Netanyahu toured on Tuesday. Nehemiah, 42 and the father of five, was taken to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot in critical condition, but his situation has since improved and he regained consciousness two days ago. After visiting Nehemiah, Netanyahu said he toured the area near where the terrorist crossed the Green Line, saying that Israel had already placed a number of obstacles there, including some that he would not detail. But, Netanyahu said, one thing is for sure, there will never be a hermetically sealed border. In the final analysis, the true response is our courage and the willingness to fight these murderers and those who send them. Netanyahu said that Nehemiah demonstrated that courage by fending off and stopping with his bare hands a hate-filled terrorist armed with a knife. The premier said Nehemiah prevented a great tragedy. Netanyahu said that the country prayed that Nehemiah would emerge from his life-threatening condition, and that according to what he saw in the hospital, the prayers were answered and he will indeed come out of this. I saw him with his family, and it simply warms the heart, Netanyahu said. Amid the constant drumbeat of news about police investigations and his former chief of staff Ari Harow who turned states witness over the weekend, Netanyahu placed an 83-second video of his tour on his Facebook page, including shots of him in the army helicopter flying near the barrier. Alongside the video, he wrote: Today with the security cabinet on a tour of the security fence in the South Hebron Hills. My primary mission is to preserve Israels security and ensure its future. Share on facebook

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Is Likud ready for the post-Netanyahu era? – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Tzachi Braverman, and Yisrael Katz at security cabinet meeting. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) It was then-Knesset speaker Avraham Burg who first compared Shimon Peres to an evergreen tree stately and impressive but nothing can grow underneath. Since then, that comparison has been made many times by those in the Likud about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the comparison actually fits Netanyahu better, because at least Peres tried to build up future leadership under him, while Netanyahu kills any potential future threat. Moshe Kahlon was once his No. 2 in the Likud. Hes in a different party now, due to his personal disputes with Netanyahu. Former Netanyahu aides Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman head different parties as well, instead of working underneath him. Gideon Saar never left the Likud, but he left his post as interior minister and took a break from politics, realizing that after being No. 2 on the Likud Knesset candidates list, there is no way to go up until Netanyahu leaves. The assumption all along has been that the Likud needs Netanyahu more than Netanyahu needs the Likud. No potential successor could measure up to him. No one even tried to run against him in the last Likud leadership race. After all, he is an internationally respected statesman. One of the heads of an international credit agency even recently said that Netanyahu is the only leader in the world who gets along very well with both US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But there is also another theory that remains untested. Perhaps Netanyahu actually needs the Likud more than the party needs him. Maybe the party would even be better off without him. That theory was substantiated by a groundbreaking Statnet poll broadcast Sunday night on Channel 10, which found that Netanyahus departure from politics due to his criminal investigations could end up helping the Likud. According to the poll, if an election were held now and Netanyahu remained the head of the Likud, the party would win 27 Knesset seats. But if the Likud were led by one of its other leaders, it would win four additional seats and end up with 31, one more than Netanyahu won at the helm of the party two years ago. When asked who would be most fit to lead the Right if Netanyahu does not run, 23% of respondents chose Saar, who fared much better than any other candidate. But Bayit Yehudi officials were quick to point out that Bennett actually got slightly higher support than Saar among respondents who voted for the Likud or Bayit Yehudi. What the poll indicated was that Netanyahu damages the Likud. Even though he is innocent until proven guilty, he brings the Likud an image of corruption that it tried so hard to rid itself of, following a Knesset list that featured the daughter of a mobster, a ministers driver, an MK who voted twice by mistake, and a deputy minister who paid for her voters to stay in a fancy hotel. Netanyahu also harms the Likud with his personality. It is no secret that it is difficult to get along with the man. Then-US president Barack Obama and then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy said it in 2011, when they did not know their microphones were on. Nearly every Likud minister would say the same to an intermediary they thought they could trust. When Netanyahu goes and it will happen sooner or later, because no one lives forever Kahlon, Liberman and Bennett can come back. The Right may no longer be divided into different parties whose difference of opinion on key issues is minimal. Saar maintains a good relationship with all three exiled party leaders, and he has been careful to speak only positively about Netanyahu since he returned to politics in April. He wrote on Facebook Sunday that he has worked well with the prime minister and there is no reason for him to resign. It has not been easy for me as a Likud member, a citizen of the country, and a partner in the Rights path, to hear the news over the past few days, Saar wrote. I hope the prime minister will emerge from his dire straits. Saar wisely decided to be out of the country during Wednesday nights pro-Netanyahu rally. The last thing he needs is to be cheered louder than Netanyahu at the event, or even worse, to be booed. He did not want to face Netanyahus wrath, which is currently targeted at Transportation Minister Israel Katz, whom Netanyahu accused this week of undermining and trying to replace him. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is currently Netanyahus No. 2 in the Likud, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other potential successors are all keeping a low profile. Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter was seen as criticizing Netanyahu and then immediately took it back. When facing a stately evergreen tree, it is never wise to go too far out on a limb. Share on facebook

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu being investigated for fraud, breach of …

Details into Israeli authorities’ investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally emerged on Thursday, following months of questions and media speculation. A court order issued by the police to an Israelicourt disclosed that the prime minister was being investigated “on suspicion of the commission of the felonies of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.” Read more:Israel arrests Netanyahu allies over German submarine deal Police had principally been seeking acourt injunction aimed at barring publication of “any details from the negotiations under way with (former Netanyahu aide) Ari Harrow and counsel.” However, the court also disclosed Netanyahu’s suspected wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Harrow, Netanyahu’s former chief-of-staff, has agreed to testify in two cases against his former boss. Israeli media say Harrow reached a deal with the prosecutors on Friday. Multiple allegations facing “Bibi” Netanyahu’s suspected wrongdoing revolves around two separate cases. The first case, known as File 1,000, relates to illegal gifts received by Netanyahu and his family from business associates, including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. File 2,000, meanwhile, concerns alleged attempts by the prime minister to strike a deal with the publisherof the Yediot Ahronot newspaper group, offering legislation that would weaken the publisher’s competitors in exchange for favorable coverage. Netanyahuhas denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman for the Israeli premier responded to the court order on Thursday, saying he was the victim “a witch-hunt, now at its peak, aimed at changing the government.” Read more:Netanyahu slams UN, denies corruption on Australia visit The spokesman continued: “This is destined to fail, for a simple reason: Nothing will happen because nothing happened.” However, Odelia Carmon, another former aide of Netanyahu’s who worked alongside Harrow, said that if the former aide wereto testify, the revelations would be a “bombshell.” “He dealt with raising donations, he dealt with the finances, he dealt with state secrets,” Carmon told a local radio station on Wednesday. “So this is not someone that Netanyahu can disavow, and I further believe he has everything documented.” According to Israeli media, Harrow owns recordings of Netanyahu’s conversations with Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes. Justice shines a light on Israeli politics Netanyahu isn’t the first Israeli leader to have faced a criminal probe. In 2014, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery, while Ariel Sharon was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and illegal campaign financing activities. Netanyahu has also found himself tied up in a separate investigation over a $2 billion deal to buy German submarines, which has led to the arrests of seven public officials and private business people. Although the prime minister isn’t implicated in the case, his personal lawyer and second cousin is representing the local agent of German manufacturer, ThyssenKrupp, and is believed to have helped push the deal. dm/gsw(AP, dpa, Reuters)

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Israeli Supreme Court orders Benjamin Netanyahu to reveal conversations with GOP donor Sheldon Adelson – Washington Examiner

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conversations with casino magnate and GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson are a matter of public interest and must be disclosed. According to the ruling, Netanyahu must disclose the dates of his phone conversations with the conservative gambling mogul who is a financier of and publisher of a free Israel newspaper. The Adelson-funded Israel Hayom is widely perceived as strongly supportive of Netanyahu and the phone calls may offer further insights into any links that could exist between Netanyahu’s administration and the publication, along with any potential conflicts of interest. Netanyahu has been under fire for amidst legal troubles that include criminal probes into whether he attempted to arrange more favorable coverage from the publisher of a rival publication in exchange for curbing Israel Hayom’s circulation numbers. Israeli police disclosed last week that Netanyahu is suspected of crimes involving fraud, breach of trust and bribes. Netanyahu maintains that he has committed no wrongdoing.

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

With indictment in question, Likud members come out swinging for Netanyahu – The Jerusalem Post

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 21, 2017.. (photo credit:EMIL SALMAN/POOL) Likud ministers and members of Knesset took to the media Sunday morning in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a weekend of dramatic developments in the police case that has him suspected of corruption and other criminal activities. Their main message to the press and the public is that the prime minister has done nothing wrong and that calls for his ousting are politically motivated and an unlawful attempt to depose the government by non-democratic means. Netanyahu is currently being investigated in three separate cases, nicknamed cases 1000, 2000 and 3000 by the press. He faces possible charges for accepting gifts from a wealthy friend in exchange for political favors, colluding with Yediot Aharonot’s publisher for favorable coverage and for involvement in a corruption case surrounding the purchase of German submarines. Netanyahu’s situation was complicated last week by the fact that his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, signed a state’s witness deal. By doing so, Harow is protecting himself – evading possible jail time to instead complete 6 months of community service and pay a 700,000 NIS fine – but also suggesting Netanyahu’s guilt. Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud MK and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of national security and foreign affairs, shared his doubts about the indictment process. In an interview on Army Radio, he said that the court’s reaching of a decision that would theoretically remove Netanyahu from office could take three or four years, meaning that it could come after the next elections take place in 2019. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be allowed to fulfill his duties in accordance with the mandate he received from the public, in a state of law and democratic rule, not to dismiss a prime minister based on media headlines, opposition demonstrations or partial investigative procedures. I trust the law enforcement system will carry out its work with the professionalism and responsibility required to enable the State of Israel to continue to deal adequately with the complex challenges it faces.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) on Saturday also stated that Netanyahu could stay in office even if he’s indicted. From the legal perspective, if theres an indictment, the prime minister doesnt have to resign, Shaked explained on Channel 2’s Meet the Press. There is the side of values, and that is a question that coalition parties will have to ask themselves if we reach that day, but we arent there. Theres still a long process. Shaked called for letting the government and the prime minister do their jobs. Politicians from the opposition, meanwhile, take it as a given that Netanyahu should leave his post, some saying such a move has been long overdue. Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told Army Radio Sunday that he believes the public has tired of leaders tainted by corruption and wrongdoing, but that he had few expectations from Netanyahu’s allies to stand up for the rule of law since it doesn’t serve them politically at the moment. The Israeli public also had their say with two protests taking place near Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblits home in Petah Tikva for the 37th consecutive Saturday night. One of the protests, attended by some 2,000 people, called for Mandelblit to indict the prime minister, while the other was a pro-Netanyahu counter-demonstration organized by coalition chairman David Bitan and fellow Likud lawmakers, which was attended by some 150 people. Lahav Harkov and Herb Keinon contributed to this report. Share on facebook

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed


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