Israel police recommend indicting PM Netanyahu for bribery

Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay seen during a faction meeting at the Israeli parliament

With banner headlines splashing the word "bribery" across their front pages, Israeli newspapers were filled with commentaries on 14 February, predicting the eventual political demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after police recommended his indictment on corruption charges.

Speaking at a local government meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time), Netanyahu said his government remains stable despite the police announcement, and that "the truth will come to light and nothing will come of this".

Regev said in an interview with Israel Radio: "You're allowed to receive presents from friends".

After the police made its recommendations public on Tuesday, Netanyahu, in a televised address, denied allegations levelled against him.

A decision to press formal charges against the long-serving premier now rests with the attorney general's office, which is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.

Ahead of the police recommendations, there was speculation Netanyahu could call for early elections as part of a bid to get a public mandate and perhaps force a prosecutor to think twice before pressing charges.

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"Even the sceptics, those who believe that there is no pit Netanyahu can not extricate himself from, understand that this is the beginning of the end", Ms Kadmon said.

In the second investigation, police allege Netanyahu tried to strike a deal with the country's largest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, that he would support legislation created to hurt their main competitor, Israel Hayom, in exchange for positive press coverage.

He is also suspected of having tried to assist Milchan, who is Israeli, in obtaining a U.S. visa extension, as well as of seeking to promote the producer's business interests in Israel.

What are the cases against Netanyahu?

Key members of Mr Netanyahu's Likud Party pointed to this as proof that the investigation was politically motivated and whip Mr Amsalem angrily called Mr Lapid a "snitch". In an emotional television appearance late Tuesday, he vowed not only to serve out his term but run again for re-election.

Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said none of Netanyahu's coalition partners have any incentive to rock the boat. "After nine years of Netanyahu, the public deserves a new leadership and a clean, honest prime minister", it concluded. "Not in a single day, not in a year, not at all".

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"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".

In the second case, known as File 2000, Mr Netanyahu was reportedly recorded asking Arnon Mozes, publisher of the Yediot Ahronot daily, for positive coverage in exchange for promoting legislation that would weaken a free newspaper that had cut into Yediot's business.

The Jerusalem Post says the gifts included champagne and cigars, and were given in exchange for help getting Milchan a United States visa.

Police said that an evidentiary basis had been formed against Milchan and Mozes for giving bribes.

There was no immediate comment from Mr Packer or Mr Mozes.

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