BLOG 383 February 19, 2014
While I have been aware of this story during the past year, I didn’t write about the details until substantial charges appeared that were more than mere allegations. The facts are that Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has been under police investigation for some time. During the past week, the story first appeared in American newspapers. If any aspect of the charges amount to an indictment, the matters could destroy Netanyahu’s coalition.
The three charges are:
Case 3000: corruption involving the sale of a German submarine and a navy vessel to Israel. Netanyahu’s closest associates were arrested.
Case 2000: The Prime Minister allegedly offered the circulation of Israel Hayom newspaper a bid for more favorable coverage.
Case 1000: The Prime Minister allegedly took gifts involving Hollywood mogul Arnold Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
The last case is the one that could bring Netanyahu down. A similar situation ended Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s career and put him in jail. At that time, Netanyahu urged Olmert to resign saying a leader with such accusations could not govern. Now the shoe is on the other foot!
The Prime Minister has long been known as a notorious flip-flopper. His opponents accused him of not being credible. This past Tuesday the Israeli Police recommended that he be charged with bribery and breach of trust. His opponents can now say we told you so.
The recommendation will now go to Attorney General Avihal Mendelblit who must make the decision about whether to formally indict Netanyahu\. Will he? The answer remains complicated.
More immediate is the possibility of increasing calls for Netanyahu’s coalition to dissolve. If hundreds of thousands of Israeli protestors take to the streets urging Kulanu and Bayit Yehudi political parties to pull out, the house could crumble. Such a response remains a possibility.
Interestingly enough, Netanyahu recently launched an attack in December on the Police to discredit them. In addition, he ridiculed Moshe Nussbaum, a veteran police reporter. Netanyahu’s behavior in these situations appears to be more like a suspect in a criminal case than a head of state.
Anyone who follows Israeli politics know this story is far from over. The complexities continue to unravel. Keep watching. We’ll keep you up on the details!