Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Israel opposition calls on Netanyahu to resign

Israel opposition calls on Netanyahu to resign

In another column in Maariv, Ben Caspit said that Netanyahu's ultimate fate, in the hands of political allies who could bolt his governing coalition, "will only become clear in the street, in the polls, in the critical mass in the hearts and minds of Israeli citizens who still believe that Israel deserves an honest prime minister".

Police said that both should face charges.

Lapid said: "That's how criminals talk, not public servants".

Police named Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian businessman James Packer as having given gifts that included champagne, cigars, and jewelry to Netanyahu and his family.

Former Labour Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a bitter rival of Netanyahu's, called on him to suspend himself and for the coalition to appoint a successor by Wednesday morning.

Police say that in that in return for lavish gifts that included jewelry, expensive cigars and champagne, Netanyahu had operated on Milchan's behalf on USA visa matters, tried to legislate a generous tax break for him and sought to promote his interests in the Israeli media market.

The police statement said that Mr Netanyahu, after receiving gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which would have ensured that Israelis who return to live in Israel from overseas were exempt from paying taxes for 10 years. The finance ministry however refused to agree to a law that would have allowed it.

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Mr Milchan's lawyer said the police recommendation "ignored basic facts".

Culture Minister Miri Regev said Lapid, "decided to join guillotine-happy order to try and bring down Netanyahu through anti-democratic means".

"All of them started off as breaking news, some of them with shocking police recommendations", said the prime minister.

Israel's Channel 10 reported in December that Packer told investigators he gave the prime minister and his wife Sara gifts.

Netanyahu can remain in office during the review; he has denied the allegations.

Netanyahu, who has repeatedly said he has done nothing wrong, is not expected to resign.

What has the reaction been?

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The development deals an embarrassing blow to the embattled prime minister and is likely to fuel calls for him to resign.

"Taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time is not living up to this standard", he added, while stressing Mr Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty. It can't be that this government continues as is, " Gabbay told Israel's Army Radio.

Ilan Gilon, of the left-wing Meretz party, said the allegations cast a "heavy shadow" over the prime minister.

According to Reuters, there is little pressure from Netanyahu's coalition partners for his to step down.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said the police statement was a "despicable move" created to "carry out a government coup against the will of the voter".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's allies from the Likud party are rallying to his defense, a day after police recommended the attorney general indict him on corruption charges. "You get NIS 40,000 a month and are barely ever here in the Knesset, you take the people's money and travel the world, staying in fancy hotels and making yourself out to be Israel's foreign minister".

"Tonight, Zionist Union backs the police investigators, the chief of police and all the law enforcement bodies who did not flinch from investigating a prime minister".

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Israel is next scheduled to go to the polls in late 2019.

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