Israeli Opposition Calls on Netanyahu to Resign After Police Recommend Bribery Charges

'A man driven by a sick obsession of what the media says about him can't lead,' says Labor Party head ■ Likud MKs blast police

Zionist Union heads Livni and Gabbay
Oren Ben Hakon

Israel's opposition leader called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign following the police's recommendations to charge him with bribery in the co-called Case 4000.

"Netanyahu must go home before he destroys the law enforcement in order to save his own skin," Tzipi Livni wrote on Twitter. "The people of Israel deserve a clean leadership. Elections now!"

Israel Police recommended on Sunday indicting Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as media mogul Shaul Elovitch and his wife Iris, for bribery and other corruption charges.

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The case involves suspicions that Netanyahu, in his role as communications minister from 2014 to 2017 (while he was also prime minister), intervened with regulators to help Bezeq. In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu’s, allegedly ordered Walla to provide favorable coverage of the prime minister and his wife Sara.

The head of the Labor Party Avi Gabbay also called on Netanyahu to resign: "A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him cannot continue at his job and must resign," Gabbay  tweeted. "A man driven by a sick obsession of what will be said about him in the media can't lead the state of Israel. Every additional day at his post means damage to the citizens of Israel."

Lawmakers from Netanyahu's Likud party tried to diminish the gravity of the police's announcement. Coalition head David Amsalem hinted the timing of the recommendations has to do with the departure of Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. Likud MK Miki Zohar said the police "continue to cross all lines."

The head of the left-wing Meretz party joined the calls: "A third recommendation [to indict with] bribery leaves no room for doubt. A prime minister suspected of the gravest felony in the Israeli law book can't sit even one more day on his chair."

Netanyahu himself said Sunday that the recommendations to indict him and his wife "don't surprise anyone, nor does the transparent timing of the announcement."

"These recommendations were decided on and leaked even before the investigations began," he said. "The police recommendations have no legal standing. Only recently, authorized officials totally rejected police recommendations regarding a number of public figures. I am certain that the authorized officials, after considering the matters, will reach the same conclusion in this case as well -- that there was nothing because there is nothing."