Netanyahu Urged to Suspend Himself Following Probe

'Netanyahu taught us that if it walks, acts and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. Now let the public judge for itself.'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting on January 2, 2017.
Emil Salman

Politicians speaking at public events Saturday attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called on him to resign following the ongoing investigation against him in two separate cases.

Haaretz revealed on Sunday morning that suspicions in the main corruption affair involving Netanyahu are backed by a tape documenting alleged contacts between Netanyahu and a businessman over mutual benefits.

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MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said on Saturday that Netanyahu’s conduct had caused him to “lose the moral authority to be prime minister” because of the political action he took to legalize the illegal outpost of Amona and because of his conduct in the affair of Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted last week of manslaughter for shooting a wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron.

Speaking in Modi’in, Livni said with regard to the police investigation against the prime minister that he “had to decide whether he wants to be an oligarch or a prime minister."

MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) said, “The moment is coming closer in which Netanyahu will have to step down.” According to Yacimovich, “This is about contemptible corruption. Netanyahu simply had a ‘sugar daddy’ that constantly provided him with expensive indulgences, like the Talansky envelopes in the Olmert affair. I expect anyone with clean hands not to continue serving under a corrupt prime minister.” She was referring to an affair that landed former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in jail.

Channel 2 reported Saturday night that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who is also head of the Kulanu faction, has begun talks with the Zionist Union about the possibility of establishing an alternative coalition if Netanyahu resigns. According to the report, Kahlon is expected to look into that possibility this week with President Reuven Rivlin, to prevent the dispersing of the Knesset and new elections. Kahlon denied the report on his Twitter account, saying that had spoken “neither to the president nor to the opposition chairman.”

Channel 2 also reported that the police believe they will complete their investigation of Netanyahu within a few weeks.

Uzi Arad, former head of the National Security Council and a former adviser to Netanyahu, on Saturday criticized the latter’s call to pardon Azaria.

“The prime minister is on the wrong side of the law. He can’t call for a pardon of Elor Azaria," he said.  According to Arad, Netanyahu has taken a political rather than a statesmanlike position in the case,” and “it’s not first area in which the prime minister has intervened improperly.”

Speaking at a public gathering in Mevasseret Zion, Arad also mentioned the police investigation of Netanyahu and said that the prime minister’s appointment of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich “places them on the edge of the boundary of their moral capability.”

Arad told the audience there is “concern and doubt over a connection between the appointments and their roles. Put yourself in Mendelblit’s place. He can’t sit with Netanyahu in the same room and afterwards decide in his case.”

According to Arad, Netanyahu is “not a modest man” and “will always prefer his political standing over the public interest.” He added, “Netanyahu taught us that if it walks, acts and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. Now let the public judge for itself.”