STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Israeli minister criticizes Netanyahu amid corruption allegations

Cracks in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition appeared to be emerging less than 24 hours after poli...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 2:53 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 2:53 PM

Cracks in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition appeared to be emerging less than 24 hours after police announced there was "sufficient evidence" to indict him on corruption charges.

On Wednesday, Naftali Bennett, the Education Minister and one of the government's key coalition partners, publicly chastised Netanyahu for "not living up to the standard of his office" after police indicated late Tuesday that the Israeli leader could face charges of fraud, accepting bribes, and breach of trust.

Bennett, whose right-wing Jewish Home party has eight seats in Netanyahu's 66-seat coalition, could bring down the government if his party withdrew from the bloc.

At a conference in Tel Aviv, Bennett criticized Netanyahu over the allegations leveled against him in the police report. The Prime Minister is accused by police of having received gifts from businessmen between 2007-2016 totaling over 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000) including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more.

"Taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time is not living up to [the] standard of his office," Bennett said. "Last night was an unpleasant moment for every citizen in Israel, and also for the Prime Minister, who is human."

"The suspicions are harsh, and they are against our Prime Minister," he added, but stopped short of saying he would withdraw from the coalition government headed by Netanyahu.

"Until the attorney general makes his decision, I call upon all parties to act in a restrained, responsible and civil manner."

Speaking at the same conference as Bennett, Netanyahu once again punched back at the allegations Wednesday, labeling the police report as a "radical and biased document with holes like Swiss cheese."

Netanyahu, who has repeatedly said he believes the allegations against him will be dismissed, also rejected any suggestions that his coalition was vulnerable in the wake of the report.

"The coalition is stable. Nobody, neither me nor anybody else, has plans to go to an election. We will continue working until the end of the term," he added.

Like Bennett, other coalition partners have also stressed they will await the attorney general's decision on whether to formally indict Netanyahu before reconsidering their positions in the government.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the center-right Kulanu party, which has 10 seats in the coalition, said he would continue in his role for the time being.

"I am aware of the public opinion, from the left and the right, in regards to the police recommendation around the investigation of the Prime Minister," Kahlon wrote on his Facebook page.

"The law fixes the demand that only the attorney general of the government is able to make the decision regarding an indictment or non-indictment. Until then, I will continue to lead and navigate the Israeli economy for the good of the citizens of Israel.

Netanyahu is a suspect in two separate criminal investigations, known as Case 1000 and Case 2000.

Case 1000 focuses primarily on Netanyahu's relationship with Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Milchan fired back at police, insisting he and Netanyahu have been friends since long before the period under investigation.

In Case 2000, police say Netanyahu discussed "bartering" with Arnon "Noni" Mozes, the owner of one of Israel's leading newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth, which is regularly critical of the Prime Minister.

In exchange for more favorable coverage, Netanyahu promised to hamper the circulation of a rival newspaper, in recordings obtained by police.

Both Netanyahu and Mozes have said these were not serious discussions; rather, they each claim they were trying to expose the other's lack of trustworthiness. Police say there is enough evidence to indict Mozes on charges of offering bribes.

In a statement to Israeli media, the lawyer for Mozes said, "The cases against him will be closed."

Police will now pass their evidence to the attorney general, who will make the final decision on whether or not to indict the Prime Minister. That decision is not expected imminently.

By Israeli law, he is only required to step down if he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process to the High Court, a process that could take years.

However, he could face public and political pressure to step down much earlier.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 55°
Columbus
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 53°
Oxford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 52°
Starkville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 54°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather