Police May Delay Recommending Charges Against Netanyahu

Deliberations are still under way within the police and between the police and the State Prosecutor's Office

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, November 20, 2017
Olivier Fitoussi

Publication of the police’s recommendations in two corruption cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to be delayed for a few days, beyond the original date of early this week.

The reason for the delay is that deliberations are still taking place both within the police and between the police and the State Prosecutor’s Office.

Law enforcement officials say they expect the police to announce there is enough evidence to charge Netanyahu with taking bribes in what the police call Case 1000 – which involves the prime minister’s alleged receipt of lavish gifts from businessmen.

They also expect police to recommend indicting Netanyahu in Case 2000, though the police haven’t decided whether to recommend charging him with bribery or breach of trust.

That case involves discussions between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, publisher of the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, in which Yedioth would grant Netanyahu favorable coverage in exchange for legislation to curb Yedioth’s main rival, Israel Hayom.

On Friday afternoon, Netanyahu published a Facebook post in which he said Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman, commander of the police’s anti-corruption unit (Lahav 433), should have suspended himself from the investigations because he believed Netanyahu was behind a sexual harassment complaint filed against Ritman by a female subordinate.

“When police investigators believe in such delusional and false allegations that the prime minister personally worked against them and sent [private] investigators to target them, how can they investigate him and submit recommendations against him in an objective manner?” the post asked.

Last Wednesday, the investigative television program “Uvda” (“Fact”) aired an interview with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, in which he said that unspecified powerful people had been trying to gather information about policemen involved in the Netanyahu investigations – including by sending private investigators to question their neighbors. Ever since, Netanyahu and his associates have repeatedly attacked senior police officers, especially Alsheich.