Police Expected to Question Netanyahu Again at End of Week

Prime minister encouraging members of his Likud party to treat the probe as politically motivated and aimed at toppling his government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset, January 3, 2016.
Emil Salman

Police are expected to question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again on Friday, after having questioned him for three hours Monday on suspicion of illegally receiving gifts from businessmen.

According to television reports, Netanyahu didn’t deny receiving the gifts, but argued that doing so wasn’t illegal.

Commenting on several other cases against him whose closure Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced on Monday, Netanyahu said, “Long years of daily persecution against me and my family proved baseless yesterday.” But he said nothing about the investigation still underway.

Netanyahu is encouraging members of his Likud party to treat the probe as politically motivated and aimed at toppling his government. Army Radio aired a recording from Monday’s Likud faction meeting in which Netanyahu said police were after him “because of our policy.”

Several Likud MKs echoed that message on Tuesday, including David Amsalem, chairman of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, which oversees the police.

He said the last two heads of the police’s investigations department had joined parties to Likud’s left after retiring – Moshe Mizrahi to Labor and Yoav Segalovich to Yesh Atid – so “there’s a reasonable suspicion that their judgment was influenced by their leftist views.”

A police source said this is a common tactic: “We never expected anything else.”