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Israeli opposition urges Netanyahu to resign

Police recommended indicting Netanyahu and his wife for bribery charges

02.12.2018
Israeli opposition urges Netanyahu to resign

JERUSALEM

Israeli opposition leaders on Sunday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after police recommended indicting him over bribery charges.

"Netanyahu must go home before he destroys the law enforcement in order to save his own skin," Tzipi Livni, leader of the Zionist Union party, wrote on Twitter.

"The people of Israel deserve a clean leadership. Elections now!"

On Sunday, police recommended indicting Netanyahu and his wife for taking bribes from media mogul Shaul Elovitch.

In a statement, police said Netanyahu is suspected of taking bribes and acting while in conflict of interests when he awarded favors to Elovitch, who controlled Israel’s telecom company Bezeq Telecom Israel, in return for favorable coverage on the company’s news site.

Police said it found evidence that "Netanyahu and those close to him bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and [his wife] Iris Elovitch."

"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him cannot continue at his job and must resign," Avi Gabbay, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said in Twitter.

"A man driven by a sick obsession of what will be said about him in the media can't lead the state of Israel. Every additional day at his post means damage to the citizens of Israel."

The head of the left-wing Meretz party, Tamar Zandberg, echoed a similar call.

"A third recommendation [to indict with] bribery leaves no room for doubt. A prime minister suspected of the gravest felony in the Israeli law book can't sit even one more day on his chair."

Police have already recommended indictment against Netanyahu in two other cases for corruption in two other cases.

The first case involves Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife.

The second relates to an alleged deal -- again for favorable media coverage -- with Arnon Mozes, publisher of Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement on Sunday, the embattled premier said the police recommendation to indict him and his wife "don't surprise anyone, nor does the transparent timing of the announcement."

"These recommendations were decided on and leaked even before the investigations began," he said.

"The police recommendations have no legal standing. Only recently, authorized officials totally rejected police recommendations regarding a number of public figures. I am certain that the authorized officials, after considering the matters, will reach the same conclusion in this case as well -- that there was nothing because there is nothing."

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