Updated | Israeli police will recommend indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, the premier confirmed on Wednesday.
Netanyahu said he remained confident that he won’t be prosecuted despite the coming recommendation from the head of police, Roni Alsheich.
“The State of Israel is a state of law,” he added. “The law says that the one to determine whether there is evidence against the prime minister is the attorney general and he consults with the State Attorney. The state prosecutor recently said in the Knesset that about half of the police’s recommendations end with nothing. So do not be nervous…. I am sure that at the end of the day the competent legal bodies will come to one conclusion, to the simple truth: There is nothing.”
For months, Netanyahu has been under investigation for allegedly receiving lavish gifts from leading Israeli business tycoons in exchange for political favors. The investigation is known in Israel as “Case 1,000,” but until Wednesday, it was unclear how likely charges would be brought.
“Police chiefs are in unanimous agreement that there is sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribe-taking in Case 1,000, or the so-called ‘gifts affair,’” the Israeli Ynet news site reported on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister has consistently denied the charges, arguing that there is nothing illegal about accepting gifts from his friends. Netanyahu has also charged the Israeli media with spreading “fake news” with regard to the investigations.
Netanyahu is also under investigation in a separate case (“Case 2,000“) for reportedly striking a quid pro quo deal with an Israeli newspaper publisher to weaken a competing paper in exchange for favorable coverage. Police are divided on whether there is enough evidence to proceed with an indictment.
The premier is also suspected of being involved in another corruption investigation involving the sale of three submarines and four patrol boats from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp in 2016 serviced to protect Israel’s natural gas platforms; most recently, Israeli police recommended bribery charges for Netanyahu’s pick for national security adviser, Avriel Bar-Yosef, as reported by Haaretz.
Many have called for Netanyahu to step down in the face of the investigations, but he has remained defiant: In December 2017, 60 percent of Israelis polled by HadashotTV said Netanyahu should resign if police were to recommend bribery charges, as reported by The Times of Israel; in August, only a third of Israelis polled by Channel 1 believe Netanyahu is innocent. “Won’t happen,” Netanyahu tweeted later that month.
It is unclear, however, if the Knesset will undertake a “no confidence” vote.