Headlines in recent days have trumpeted assertions by Israel Chief of Police Roni Alshich that police have “irrefutable evidence” that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is guilty of corruption and other crimes, many of which were sourced from social media accounts – specifically, a Twitter account – sending out messages in the name of Alshich.
But those headlines are “fake news,” the Chief said in a statement Friday. Those messages were not sent by Alshich, but by imposters sending out fake messages in his name. “In light of the reports that Police Chief Alshich has opened and is using a Twitter account. We wish to make clear that this is a phony account that has no connection to the Chief. Unfortunately , much of the information that we are being forced to deal with during this period has no basis in reality,” the statement said. Police said they were searching for the owners of the account, and would prosecute them to the full extent of the law for impersonating the Chief.
The account was apparently opened earlier this week, after police met on deciding whether or not to recommend that Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges, specifically Case 1000, in which Netanyahu was accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, mostly cigars. A message from the phony Alshich account after that meeting said that “the truth about Netanyahu will come to light,” and that “we are not afraid to tell the truth,” implying that police would recommend an indictment.
That message elicited a sharp reaction from Netanyahu, who said that Alshich was ruining the trust of the people in police by rushing to indict him in the media without sufficient evidence. Among other things, Alshich accused Netanyahu of sending private investigators to “spy” on police who were investigating his case. Netanyahu wrote in his own social media message that the accusation was “shocking. Any sane person would look at these comments and ask how the Police Chief would be able to conduct an impartial investigation of the Prime Minister.”
Other messages said that police were being intimidated by “powerful people” were opposed to the investigation, implying that Netanyahu was trying to prevent police from doing their work. Police are expected to make their recommendations on Case 1000 next week.
“Many people are asking where this is going,” Netanyahu wrote in his response to the Alshich account posts. “I want to calm everyone down: There will be nothing because there is no case. Israel is a state of laws, and the law says that if there is evidence against the Prime Minister, it is up to the State Attorney to decide with the State Prosecutor what to do.
The Prosecutor’s Office said recently in the Knesset that at least half of the police recommendations amount to nothing. We expect ‘recommendations,’ we know there will be signs reading ‘Netanyahu go home,’ and all sorts of pressures. But I am positive that at the end of the day the authorities will agree with me – that there is no case.”