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Israel PM Netanyahu shrugs off police corruption claims, opposition

15 February 2018

"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. No one, not I, not anyone else, has plans to go to an election. Calling them baseless, he told the public he would continue to lead Israel till the end of his term as Prime Minister.

Lapid's remarks Wednesday came the morning after Israeli police recommended Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two cases.

It will be up to Israel's attorney general to decide whether to file charges, a process that could take weeks if not months.

"It is a sad day for every citizen when an Israeli prime minister is accused of serious criminal offences", Lapid said in his statement.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said Netanyahu's political future now rested on how his political allies responded.

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Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who oversees the police, said the prime minister "deserves the assumption of innocence", while Netanyahu's coalition whip, David Amsalem, accused the police of committing "an illegitimate act here to attempt a coup d'etat in Israel". "I am certain, as I have always been certain, and nothing has changed, that the truth will come to light and nothing will come of this".

Police said in a statement that the prime minister had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels (£150,000, $208,300) from Milchan, and 250,000 shekels (or £51,000, $70,822) from Packer.

"Even if he is not technically obliged to resign under Israeli law, a person facing such heavy accusations can not continue to serve as Prime Minister, and be responsible for the security and well-being of Israeli citizens", Lapid added, earlier today. "After nine years of Netanyahu, the public deserves a new leadership and a clean, honest prime minister", it concluded.

Key members of Netanyahu's Likud Party pointed to this as proof that the investigation was politically motivated and Amsalem angrily called Lapid a "snitch".

"He didn't receive bribes at all".

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On Tuesday, Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, a bloc of Palestinian political parties in the Israeli parliament, said that Netanyahu was "corrupt and dangerous".

"A prime minister is not meant to be ideal or live an over-modest lifestyle, but he needs to be someone people look at and say: "This is how one should act", he said in a speech in Tel Aviv.

Police said there was sufficient evidence to charge both Milchan and Mozes with bribery.

A public debate has always been under way in Israel on whether Mandelblit, who has avoided interviews, might be reluctant to prosecute a sitting prime minister for the first time in Israeli history, especially one who has promoted his career.

Beyond that, police say Netanyahu is believed to have supported the creation of an industrial zone along the border between Jordan and Israel in favour of Indian billionaire Ratan Tata, Milchan's business partner. The police are probing "bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister".

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Israel PM Netanyahu shrugs off police corruption claims, opposition