Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership has been dealt a harsh blow, possibly a mortal one. An important aid to Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to testify against him. This time, elections and coalition of groups will not be able to save him from the likely inevitable outcome, which is his being forced to resign.
See if the way the Prime Minister is handling his situation, doesn’t remind you of someone.
Here is the rest of the story…
According to a 2/20/18 AP report by Josef Federman, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, already reeling from a damaging police report into alleged corruption, faced yet another scandal on Tuesday — with allegations that a longtime confidant attempted to bribe a judge in exchange for dropping a corruption case against the Israeli leader’s wife.”
“Netanyahu quickly denounced the allegations. But they presented an embarrassing new headache for him as a growing list of members of his inner circle gets swept up in scandals.”
“The latest case surrounds Nir Hefetz, a longtime media adviser to Netanyahu and his family.”
“Hefetz is suspected of suggesting, through a middleman, to Judge Hila Gerstel in 2015 that she could be appointed attorney general if she dismissed a pending case against Sara Netanyahu’s excessive household spending. Hefetz and the middleman are being held in police custody.”
“The offer never materialized, and Israel’s current attorney general recommended last fall indicting Mrs. Netanyahu in the case.”
“But Israeli media, including columnist Ben Caspit, who broke the story, said the judge was shocked by the offer. Police said Tuesday (2/20/18) she had given testimony as part of their investigation.”
“The Haaretz daily said Gerstel had spoken about the incident at the time to her colleague Esther Hayut, who is now the Supreme Court’s chief justice. Media reports said that Hayut is expected to be questioned by police.”
“Netanyahu said the latest suspicions were a continuation of a wider media witch hunt against him and his family.”
The latest probes come days after police announced that there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.
“Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointee, will make the final decision on whether to file charges — a process that is expected to take several months.”
“Netanyahu is accused of receiving lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan’s behalf on U.S. visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.”
“In the second case, Netanyahu is accused of offering a newspaper publisher legislation that would weaken his paper’s main rival in return for more favorable coverage.”
“Netanyahu has long accused the Israeli press corps of being biased against him and has taken steps to counter it by promoting more sympathetic outlets.”
“Netanyahu’s backers have also lashed out at police, accusing them of an overzealous campaign to topple him.”
“Israel’s police chief, Roni Alsheikh, said Tuesday (2/29/18) that the police recommendations were coordinated with the attorney general and were handled in a professional manner.”
“Our main objective is to remain neutral and professional,” he said in a speech to visiting Jewish American leaders. “We keep out of the media conversation, neither right nor left, but only on the side of the law.”
On February 21, 2018, the Guardian published the following report by the AP, “Netanyahu aide agrees to implicate PM over corruption claims – reports”Excerpts:
“One of Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest confidants has turned state witness and agreed to incriminate the prime minister in corruption allegations, Israeli media have reported.”
“Police wouldn’t confirm whether Shlomo Filber would testify against Netanyahu, but all major Israeli media outlets said a deal to do so had been reached.”
“Filber, the former director of the communications ministry under Netanyahu, was arrested on suspicion of promoting regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the telecommunications company Bezeq. In return, Bezeq’s news website Walla! allegedly provided favourable coverage of Netanyahu and his family.”
“The reports came shortly after an allegation that a different longtime confidant tried to bribe a judge in exchange for dropping a corruption case against Netanyahu’s wife.”
“The prime minister, who was also the communications minister until last year, has not been named as a suspect, although he may soon be questioned. Netanyahu denies all the charges, calling them part of a media witch-hunt, and has vowed to carry on.”
“Senior cabinet ministers from his ruling Likud party, who until recently dutifully defended him, have largely remained silent. Netanyahu appeared ashen in video released late on Tuesday, when he described the the claims as “total madness”.
“Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Haaretz, said: “These are the final days of Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule”.
“Other leading columnists suggested that if Filber said everything he knew, Netanyahu would probably be more concerned about avoiding prison than staying in office.”
“Nahum Barnea wrote in the newspaper Yediot Ahronot: “When so many dark clouds accumulate in the sky, the chances of rain increase.”
“His appearance lent the fight he is waging the dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy. This isn’t the end. It isn’t even the beginning of the end. But it cannot have a different end.”
The latest developments come days after police announced that there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.
Avichai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointment as attorney general, will make the final decision on whether to file charges, a process that is expected to take several months.
The prime minister is accused of receiving lavish gifts from the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and the Australian billionaire James Packer. In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan’s behalf on US visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.
In the second case, Netanyahu is accused of offering a newspaper publisher legislation that would weaken his paper’s main rival, in return for more favourable coverage.