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  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset, Israel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem December 19, 2018 | Photo: Reuters file.

Published 8 January 2019

In his elections speech, PM Netanyahu reiterated in a mantra-like manner that “there is nothing” in the allegations against him, but the investigation may indicate otherwise.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Israeli voters on Monday at a crucial time during his electoral campaign in what Israeli politicians are calling a “desperate” attempt to influence an investigation involving corruption charges against him and his inner circle.

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Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich reacted to the PM’s speech, “We saw a cynical and pathetic elections speech of someone who is trying with all his might to escape the law.” She further added that the speech represented a “gross and blatant intervention of Netanyahu in his legal process, creating fake drama full of nothing.”

In his speech, Netanyahu reiterated in a mantra-like manner that “there is nothing” in the allegations against him. The PM also decried that starting a probe before the April 9 elections is “unjust” as it could not terminate until after the poll is over.

However, reports indicate that Attorney General Avichai Mandelbit, who is leading the probe, has made consultations with veteran legal officials regarding the “propriety” to announce an indictment, during an election campaign process, reported The Times of Israel. What this seems to indicate is that the investigations on the three cases are ongoing and gaining breadth instead of shutting down.

The PM also stated, in a bullying demeanor, that he wanted to “look them in the eye,” referring to the three witnesses working with prosecutors handling his case, to confront them on the allegations made against him.

Back in December, the police recommended for the third time that Netanyahu is charged with fraud, accepting bribes, and breach of trust.

At this time, taking a defiant stance, Netanyahu said he would not consider putting forth his resignation in the event that the attorney general accepts police recommendations to indict him.

In context, Israeli police say said they had enough evidence for bribery and fraud charges to be brought against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, which is what prompted the attorney general to initiate the investigation in the first place.

As the corruption probe gained momentum, the PM did an about-face on holding early elections in April. At first, he called such a move a “historic mistake,” but as the probe against him deepened, he announced with “confidence” that there was a “unanimous” agreement to do so within his party

Netanyahu has been in power for three consecutive terms since 2009 and also led Israel from 1996-1999. A fifth election victory would give him the most in Israeli history. 

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