Netanyahu: Top Officer Investigating Me Should Have Recused Himself if He Thought I Acted Against Him

Days before police expected to issue recommendations on charges against prime minister, Netanyahu launches fresh attack against investigators

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 1, 2018.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 1, 2018.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

In a fresh attack on the Israel Police, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman, the head of the anti-fraud unit, should have recused himself from investigating the premier because of insinuations Netanyahu was behind a petition by a female officer alleging sexual harassment by Ritman.

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Once again, Netanyahu also attacked the claim made by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich in an interview broadcast Wednesday that "powerful people" have been gathering information about police investigators involved in Netanyahu’s cases.

"Now we find out that the investigators themselves also believed in another, no less ridiculous conspiracy theory – that the prime minister sent private investigators against them," Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. "You decide: What does this say about the impartiality of the investigation and what does this say about the nature of the recommendations?"

In the interview, which aired on Israel's investigative news show “Uvda,” Alsheich also said Netanyahu had promised that if he remains prime minister, he will someday appoint Alsheich to head the Shin Bet security service.

Netanyahu responded to the interview in a late-night Facebook post, calling the claims "ludicrous" and saying the police chief's comments "cast a shadow" over the investigation which may lead to calls to indict the prime minister as early as next week.

The police are expected to send the summary of their investigation against Netanyahu to the prosecutor’s office and release their recommendations Tuesday on whether there is sufficient evidence to indict him. 

In recent weeks, investigators wrapped up their work in the two cases dubbed Case 1000 and Case 2000. The first case involves allegations that Netanyahu and his family received lavish gifts from leading business figures including Israeli-born Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, raising suspicions that the businessmen received something in return.

The second case involves allegations that Netanyahu negotiated with the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Arnon Mozes, over possible changes in government policy that would benefit Yedioth in exchange for favorable coverage of the prime minister.

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