PM Netanyahu to Leftists: Don’t Celebrate My Downfall Too Soon

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Reuters/Dan Balilty/Pool)

Leftists who are salivating over the possibility that he will be indicted on corruption charges “should be looking for their electoral salvation elsewhere,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Motzoei Shabbos. Netanyahu was speaking in response to comments by Zionist Camp MK Miki Rosenthal, who earlier said that he had “personal knowledge” that police were set to recommend that the prime minister be indicted.

“The State Attorney is currently standing between the police recommendation and an indictment,” Rosenthal said in a public forum discussion in Modiin over the weekend. “Police are finishing up their investigation, but they have already decided on indicting Netanyahu on charges of receiving gifts illegally and breach of trust. I say this based on personal knowledge; I am not just quoting out of thin air.”

That police would like to indict Netanyahu does not mean that this will take place, Rosenthal said. “There have been several cases in the past where police wanted to indict, but the incident ended with a report or commission of investigation. I don’t know if that is how this will turn out as well. We can check the situation in a couple of months from now.”

There are two active investigations involving Netanyahu. One involves the relationship between the prime minister and Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes, who is alleged to have initiated a relationship with Netanyahu in order to get him to lean on his paper’s arch-rival, Yisrael Hayom. Netanyahu has often complained of the extremely negative coverage of him in Yediot, and Mozes’s staff has accused Yisrael Hayom of being Netanyahu’s “pet poodle” for its positive coverage of the prime minister. Mozes allegedly offered Netanyahu a deal – he would ease the negative coverage against the prime minister if Netanyahu would somehow “restrain” Yisrael Hayom, the free daily newspaper which has cannibalized Yediot’s sales for years.

The second investigation involves the prime minister’s relationship with Arnon Milchan, an Israeli-American businessman who investigators believe provided Netanyahu with expensive cigars over many years. According to the report, Netanyahu smokes cigars valued at between NIS 15,000 and NIS 20,000 per month. Each cigar Milchan gave to Netanyahu is said to be worth NIS 100. He is also accused of providing Netanyahu with champagne, with each bottle worth between NIS 300 and 400.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he could report with “full confidence that there will be nothing because there is nothing. The only thing going on is the unceasing pressure of the media on law enforcement.” On Saturday night, Netanyahu said in a statement that “this has been going on for months with no resolution. Does one imagine that there is anyone in the police who has the courage to pull back and admit that this investigation has led to nothing? And as far as the new unofficial spokesperson for the police, Miki Rosenthal, is concerned, I say to him and his friends on the left that if they are looking for electoral salvation in this,” by imagining that it will force Netanyahu to resign, “they should be seeking that salvation elsewhere.”