Key Israel minister criticises Netanyahu, but staying in coalition

Key Israel minister criticises Netanyahu, but staying in coalition

Key Israel minister criticises Netanyahu, but staying in coalition

A police statement on Tuesday said there was enough evidence to indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

The police announcement late Tuesday that Netanyahu accepted almost $300,000 in gifts from two billionaires dealt the prime minister an embarrassing blow after years of investigations, but did not appear to immediately rattle his lengthy rule as reaction largely fell along partisan lines.

Almost all of Netanyahu's Cabinet ministers issued statements of support and no coalition partners appeared ready to bolt.

The announcement by police does not mean Netanyahu will be charged. "And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place on time I will win your trust again, with God's help". However, he has close ties to the Prime Minister, having previously served as Netanyahu's Cabinet Secretary in 2013.

"There's really a government culture of corruption", he added.

It is up to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to decide whether to indict Netanyahu. The process could take weeks or months.

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Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the police of engaging in a witch hunt and vowed to remain in office into the next elections.

The police statement said that Mr Netanyahu, after receiving gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which would have ensured that Israelis who return to live in Israel from overseas were exempt from paying taxes for 10 years.

In a televised address, he said he would "continue to lead Israel responsibly and faithfully", describing the allegations as "baseless".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied the allegations against him.

Parliament, however, could also enact a special procedure against him before his case is exhausted if he is found to be guilty of moral turpitude.

Earlier today, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced that he is a key witness in the investigation and gave his testimony regarding the controversial Milchan Law. This comes in response to members of the opposition and its supporters who are calling for Netanyahu to resign immediately.

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Netanyahu, however, said his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation, which prompted calls for his resignation.

"I will continue to lead Israel with responsibility and commitment", proclaimed prime minister, who during course of investigations and interrogations has repeated as a mantra, "re will be nothing, because re was never anything", to imply that research They have little consistency.

"According to suspicions, the Prime Minister worked to advance the extension of the tax waiver for returning citizens over 10 years, a benefit that has a considerable economic value for Mr Milchan", the police statement said. His attorney, Amit Hadad, told Israel Radio Wednesday that the police's claims against his client were false.

"He didn't receive bribes at all". Yossi Verter, in the liberal daily Haaretz, said that Netanyahu was now politically vulnerable.

In all, the merchandise was worth more than one million shekels ($280,000), the statement said.

In Case 2000, widely known as the "Yediot Aharonot affair", Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with publisher Arnon "Noni" Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in Yediot Aharonot in exchange for support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest circulation Hebrew-language paper, and Yediot's biggest competitor.

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