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Israeli Police Recommend Netanyahu Be Indicted on Corruption Charges

By VOA News February 13, 2018

Israeli police have recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges in two separate cases.

The recommendation of criminal charges came Tuesday after a monthslong investigation into allegations that Netanyahu had accepted expensive gifts from billionaires. He also allegedly promised to do favors for a newspaper publisher in exchange for positive news coverage.

The prime minister appeared on Israeli television Tuesday minutes after police made their recommendations public.

"I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you," he said.

The prime minister also said the police recommendations for an indictment "will end with nothing."

Netanyahu is accused of taking gifts, including cigars, cognac and jewelry, from billionaire benefactors, including Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian media magnate James Packer.

Netanyahu's longtime rival, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, called the alleged corruption "horrifying." But Netanyahu called himself the victim of a police and media "witch hunt."

It is up to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to decide whether to indict Netanyahu.

An indictment would not require him to immediately step down. But it would certainly cripple his ability to govern in what is already a shaky coalition government of hard-liners and liberals.

Robert Berger contributed to this report.



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