Israeli police recommend indicting Netanyahu for corruption

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    © Getty Images

    Israeli police chiefs will recommend to the country's attorney general that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges, according to reports in local media.

    The Times of Israel reported Wednesday that police chiefs, including the general commissioner of Israel's police force, were in "unanimous agreement" that Netanyahu should be indicted for allegedly accepting bribes and receiving lavish gifts from wealthy benefactors, including Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

    Any recommendation for an indictment would be sent to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who will decide whether to indict the prime minister.

    In a Facebook video Netanyahu acknowledged that the police would likely move to recommend his indictment, but dismissed the allegations against him and predicted Mandelblit would not move to press charges.
    "The State of Israel is a state of law. 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," Netanyahu said Wednesday.

    "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," he added.

    Netanyahu's current tenure as Israel's prime minister began in 2009; he previously held the office from 1996 to 1999. He was reelected in 2015 with just over 23 percent of the vote share, with his Likud party winning 30 seats in Israel's parliament.

    The right-leaning Israeli leader is a top ally of President Trump, who last year declared that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    The move was widely popular with Netanyahu and Israelis, but inflamed tensions with Palestine and Arab countries across the Middle East.
  2. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    If you follow any of this stuff, what the Netanyahu's have done is Trump levels and beyond.
  3. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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  4. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Netanyahu lashes out at police as graft probe nears end

    Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at police over claims detectives probing graft allegations against him were targeted by private investigators as the probe reportedly nears completion.

    Pressure has built on Netanyahu with police investigating him reportedly set to hand over their recommendations to the attorney general next week in the long-running probe.

    Israeli media have reported that police are expected to recommend that the long-serving prime minister be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust.

    Israeli authorities have refused to comment publicly on the reports. The attorney general is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed after receiving the recommendations.

    On Monday night, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 television that detectives probing Netanyahu had been targeted by private investigators to dig up dirt on them.

    Netanyahu posted a response on Facebook late Wednesday in which he lashed out at the police commissioner, calling suggestions that he sent private investigators on such a mission "ridiculous."

    "It is shocking to discover that the commissioner has repeated the mistaken and ridiculous suggestion that Prime Minister Netanyahu sent private investigators after the police who are investigating him," the post said.

    He also referred to claims that sexual harassment allegations against the head of the unit investigating Netanyahu were an attempt to smear him because of the graft probe.

    "Any honest person would ask himself how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can objectively investigate him and honestly give unbiased recommendations," the post said.

    "A large shadow was cast tonight over the police investigations and their recommendations related to Prime Minister Netanyahu."

    The investigation has raised the possibility that Netanyahu, prime minister for a total of nearly 12 years, will eventually be forced to resign.

    Police are investigating Netanyahu over suspicions that he received expensive gifts from wealthy supporters as well as over allegations that he sought a secret deal for favourable coverage with a newspaper publisher.

    The 68-year-old premier has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and says he is being targeted by political opponents.
  5. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Netanyahu Lashes Out as Israeli Police Wrap Up Graft Inquiries

    JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has lashed out at the country’s police chief, whom he accused of airing “delusional and mendacious” insinuations against him, just days before the police are expected to publish recommendations regarding potential charges against Mr. Netanyahu in two corruption investigations, possibly including bribery.

    “Any fair-minded person will ask themselves how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can investigate him objectively and make recommendations in his case without bias,” Mr. Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post after midnight Wednesday.

    “A large shadow has been cast this evening over the police investigations and recommendations in the case of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he added.

    Critics said Mr. Netanyahu, now in his third consecutive term in office, was trying to discredit the police in order to delegitimize investigations that could undermine his political future.

    “Clearly it is unjustified,” Barak Medina, a professor in the law faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said of the attack on the police commissioner, Roni Alsheich. “The prime minister is trying to create a spin and present himself as the victim.”

    Like other observers, Mr. Medina drew comparisons to President Trump’s criticism of the F.B.I. and Justice Department amid investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.

    In a second Facebook post on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Netanyahu denied any personal attack on Mr. Alsheich. “The real question is the purity of the investigation,” he wrote. “The allegations that were aired are grave and should keep any decent person awake at night.”

    He made his criticisms after Mr. Alsheich said in a lengthy television interview on Wednesday that private detectives working on behalf of “powerful” people had been gathering information about investigators working on the Netanyahu files, sniffing around their relatives and neighbors and asking questions.

    Though he did not directly accuse the prime minister of involvement, Mr. Alsheich did little to push back when his interviewer suggested that the private detectives were acting on behalf of politicians.

    “Ultimately,” he added, “we know who these people are. Apparently somebody has to pay them, and therefore this disturbs us greatly.”

    Mr. Alsheich has said that after he went public, some months ago, about what he described as “pressures” applied to the investigators by those collecting information on them, the activity stopped. Mr. Alsheich said on Wednesday that these were not “rumors or blah blah blah,” but “facts.”

    Mr. Netanyahu excoriated Mr. Alsheich for “repeating the delusional and mendacious insinuation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent private detectives against police officers investigating him.”

    In the interview broadcast on the respected magazine program “Uvda” — an Israeli equivalent of “60 Minutes” — Mr. Alsheich also defended the leader of the police anticorruption unit, Roni Ritman, who has been accused of sexual harassment and recently stepped down.

    Mr. Netanyahu also struck back at this part of the conversation, although his name once again went unmentioned.

    He wrote of Mr. Alsheich, “It is shocking to discover that he is repeating to journalists the no less ludicrous and false insinuation of Ritman, as if the prime minister was involved in the complaint” against the investigations unit chief. Mr. Netanyahu and his lawyer have called for a swift inquiry into the claims they said Mr. Alsheich had implied.

    The extraordinary clash came amid reports in Israel that the police were likely to present conclusions during the next week regarding the evidentiary basis for charges in two graft cases against Mr. Netanyahu.

    In the first, known as Case 1000, investigators are looking at whether Mr. Netanyahu offered favors in return for gifts of expensive cigars, pink Champagne and other goods from wealthy friends, including an Israeli Hollywood producer, Arnon Milchan.

    The second, Case 2000, involves back-room dealings with a local newspaper magnate. Mr. Netanyahu was recorded negotiating for favorable coverage with the publisher of a newspaper that had often criticized him, Yedioth Ahronoth, in exchange for curtailing the circulation of a free competitor, Israel Hayom, financed by the American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

    The police have been investigating Mr. Netanyahu on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, according to the Israeli authorities.

    Mr. Netanyahu has already tried to prepare the public for the likelihood that the police will recommend charges, suggesting that such a move would be meaningless, since, he said, only about half of police recommendations resulted in formal charges.

    A final decision regarding any indictment of Mr. Netanyahu is likely to be months away and would lie with the attorney general, after consultations with the state prosecutor.

    Earlier Wednesday night, Mr. Netanyahu posted a video on his Facebook page in which he told his supporters not to worry.

    “There will be recommendations, there will also be signs saying, ‘Bibi is guilty until proven innocent,’ and invalid pressures,” he said. “But I am sure that at the end of the day the authorized legal bodies will come to the same conclusion, to the simple truth: There is nothing.”

    Mr. Netanyahu appointed Mr. Alsheich as police commissioner about two years ago, and praised him at the time as a “creative, original and determined commander who is not afraid to take the initiative.”

    The relationship has soured since the investigations began. In October, Mr. Netanyahu attacked Mr. Alsheich and blamed the police for what he called a “tsunami” of leaks about the investigations. Mr. Alsheich denied that the police had been the source of the leaks.

    David Amsalem, the coalition chairman for Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, accused the police of attempting a coup.

    “When people are being murdered in the streets,” he said on Army Radio, “it is more important than the prime minister having received a cigar.”

    Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid and a challenger for the post of prime minister, described Mr. Netanyahu’s attack on the police chief as “a desperate act of a person under investigation who has decided to exploit his lofty position to threaten the rule of law and cast aspersions on the police, who protect us all.”

    Avi Gabbay, leader of the center-left Labor Party, called Mr. Netanyahu’s attack “unprecedented” and “illegitimate.”

    Asked by the television interviewer, Ilana Dayan, a veteran investigative journalist, if the Israeli public would be surprised by the police findings, Mr. Alsheich replied, “There will be some people who will say, ‘Wait a moment, this is not what we thought.’”

    As for the idea that he could end up being remembered as the police chief who brought down a sitting prime minister, Mr. Alsheich said, “I don’t like it, but that’s my job.”
  6. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Israel Police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in two cases Tuesday night, Israel's Channel 2 and Channel 10 reported.

    After a 14-month-long investigation, police announced on Tuesday that it found enough evidence to recommend the state’s prosecution to indict Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000, the “gifts affair" and Case 2000, the "Yediot Aharanot Affair."

    In Case 1000, the “gifts affair,” it is alleged that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts from different businessmen.

    In Case 2000, the “Yediot Aharonot affair,” Netanyahu allegedly negotiated with publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in Yediot Aharonot in exchange for support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom, the largest circulation Hebrew-language paper and Yediot’s biggest competitor.

    Police also reccomended indicting Mozes and Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan, who is among those alleged to have given Netanyahu expensive gifts as bribes.

    The prime minister, in the past, rejected both allegations claiming that "it is not illegal to accept gifts from friends" and that "Nothing will happen because nothing happened."

    At this stage, the prosecution and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will examine the evidence that police collected throughout the investigations, and will later decide whether to actually indict the prime minister or not.

    Netanyahu is not required at this point to resign from office. The law says that only after a peremptory Supreme Court verdict (meaning after an appeal was submitted and rejected), the prime minister must resign from office.

    These police recommendations come in the shadow of an ongoing campaign by Netanyahu to discharge the credibility of his investigators.

    The premier’s attacks were made in response to remarks made by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich, who hinted that Netanyahu had sent private investigators to collect information against police officers who are involved in his case.

    On Thursday, Netanyahu said on Facebook: “It’s shocking to see that he [Alsheich] is repeating the outlandish and false claim that supposedly used private investigators against police officers.”

    “Every decent person will ask himself: How can people who say such outlandish things regarding the prime minister then question him objectively and be impartial when it is time to reach a decision about him?” Netanyahu asked.

    In four Facebook posts that followed, Netanyahu repeated the notion that if that is the situation, these recommendations are worthless.
  7. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Justice Minister: Israel Must Keep Jewish Majority Even at the Expense of Human Rights
    Minister Ayelet Shaked addressed the proposed nation-state law, contending that Israel as a Jewish state must administer equal civil but not national rights

    Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday that if not for the fence erected some years ago on the Egyptian border, “We would be seeing here a kind of creeping conquest from Africa.” The fence effectively stopped asylum-seekers from Sudan and Eritrea from entering the country.

    In a speech to the Congress on Judaism and Democracy, Shaked also said, “I think that ‘Judaizing the Galilee’ is not an offensive term. We used to talk like that. In recent years we’ve stopped talking like that. I think it’s legitimate without violating the full rights of the Arab residents of Israel.”

    The justice minister made the remarks in a wide-ranging speech on the controversy over the Jewish nation-state bill.

    She further said, “There is place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights.” She added, however, that maintaining a Jewish majority in Israel and acting democratically “must be parallel and one must not outweigh the other.”

    Regarding the nation-state bill, Shaked said, “I was disturbed at both the position of the state and the reasoning of the justices. The state did not defend the law for national demographic reasons, it claimed only security reasons.” Shaked told the conference that “the state should say that there is place to maintain the Jewish majority even if it violates rights.”

    Shaked said she believed Judaism and democracy are values that can coexist. “From a constitutional point of view there is an advantage to democracy and it must be balanced and the Supreme Court should be given another constitutional tool that will also give power to Judaism.”

    The purpose of the nation-state bill, she said, was to prevent rulings interpreting the Entry to Israel Law, or a ruling like the one in the Ka’adan case in 2000 that banned discrimination against an Arab family who wanted to move to a small Jewish community that sought to bar them.

    “In our laws there are universal values, rights, already enshrined in a very serious way. But the national and the Jewish values are not enshrined. Over the past 20 years, there has been more of a focus on rulings over universal values and less over the Jewish character of the state. This tool [the nation state bill] is a tool that we want to give the court for the future,” said the justice minister.

    In response to a question from the interviewer, TV journalist Dana Weiss, on whether the court could not consider the Jewish character of the state without a nation-state law, she said: “It can, but it’s as if you’d say that without the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty the court won’t care about dignity and human rights. It’s different when you have a constitutional tool.”

    Shaked: Court could take 'equality' very far

    On the coalition’s intent to keep the word “equality” out of the nation-state bill, Shaked said: “Israel is a Jewish state. It isn’t a state of all its nations. That is, equal rights to all citizens but not equal national rights.” Shaked said the word “equality” was very general and the court could take it “very far,” adding, “There are places where the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish state must be maintained and this sometimes comes at the expense of equality.”

    Shaked said the nation-state bill did not deal with the issue of who is a Jew. “Everyone has his own Judaism. In the nation-state bill, when it talks about a Jew, it means the nationality.” Shaked then referred to the Ka’adan ruling and said that if such a case were to come up again or “the argument over whether it’s all right for a Jewish community to, by definition, be only Jewish, I want the answer to be ‘yes, it’s all right.’”

    The question of the legality of the Family Unification Law, which prevents the unification of families where one of the couple is Palestinian and one is Arab Israeli, was twice decided at the time by the Supreme Court by one vote, with six justices supporting it and five dissenting. The justices gave precedence to security considerations over the importance of the right to maintain a family, in a case that split the Supreme Court.

    In Shaked’s speeches, she often quotes the words of the late Justice Mishael Chesin, who was in the majority opinion that approved the law, in which he said Israel needed to awaken from the dream that it was a utopian state.
  8. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Better summary of the events with Netanyahu and cases 3000, 4000.

    Israeli police have officially announced that they think there is enough evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption in two separate cases. This long-teased and widely expected announcement does not, however, mean that charges will actually be filed against Netanyahu.

    If you’re experiencing a bit of déjà vu, that’s because there have been “BREAKING” news stories for months now indicating that the Teflon prime minister is on the verge of being prosecuted. But only the country’s attorney general can actually file charges against Bibi, and it will likely take him several months to decide whether or not to do so. Even then, Netanyahu would not be legally required to step down.

    So what’s this all about?

    There are at least four major ongoing corruption scandals involving Netanyahu, his family, and his associates. The two discussed in the police recommendation today are known as “Case 1000” and “Case 2000.” Case 1000 concerns allegations that Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and his son Yair, received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. Netanyahu says the gifts—regular shipments of pink champagne and Cohiba cigars, as well as free flights and jewelry—were just tokens of friendship, but the allegation is that the PM helped secure Milchan a U.S. visa and Packer Israeli residency in return for their generosity.

    A former Netanyahu aide recently testified that Netanyahu had brought up the cigars at a meeting with Milchan where they were discussing efforts to convince the Obama administration to renew residency for the producer of movies including The Revenant and 12 Years a Slave. Police also say that Netanyahu pushed for a law cutting taxes for Israelis who, like Milchan, return to Israel after spending time abroad.

    Case 2000 involves recordings of conversations between Netanyahu and the publisher of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, which has long been critical of the PM. He is accused of offering to advance legislation that would hurt the paper’s free rival, the traditionally pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom, in exchange for more favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth. (Israel Hayom, backed by U.S. casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, scored an interview with Donald Trump this week.) Netanyahu says he was not serious about the offer.

    As for Case 3000 and 4000, they are also very bad, but Netanyahu himself is not a suspect in either.

    The decision on whether to actually indict Netanyahu now falls to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who has appeared very reluctant to move against the prime minister. Mandelblit even asked the police to delay its finding on Sunday until the country’s supreme court ruled on a legal challenge filed by a right-wing lawyer, which sought to block the recommendation. But the court rejected the petition in a matter of hours. Israeli political analyst Ben Caspit suggests that Mandelblit is worried about the potential damage to Israel’s legal institutions—not to mention his own reputation and career ambitions—if Netanyahu were charged but not convicted. (Demonstrators have been holding weekly rallies outside Mandelblit’s house for more than a year, calling for an indictment. There was a bit of an uproar last month when loud demonstrations outside his synagogue prevented him from saying kaddish for his recently deceased mother.)

    Crazy as this all is, it’s not exactly uncharted water for Israeli politics. Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Olmert resigned in 2008 after police recommended corruption charges against him, and went on to serve 16 months in prison. Moshe Katsav resigned from the country’s ceremonial presidency in 2007 when he was charged with rape.

    But neither of those men dominated the country’s political landscape like Netanyahu has for nearly a decade now. For his part, the prime minister has shown no sign of backing down, dismissing the charges against him as “slander” and vowing to stay in office even though a poll in December found that 60 percent of Israelis thought he should step down if police recommend charges. Netanyahu has been accusing police investigators and media of engaging in a partisan witch hunt for months now, eliciting comparisons to his friend Donald Trump’s handling of his own legal troubles. (Playing the role of Don Jr., Yair Netanyahu, who could be in legal hot water himself, has gone as far as posting anti-Semitic memes blaming the investigation on a George Soros-organized conspiracy.)

    There’s never really a quiet time in Israeli politics, but the latest twist in the Bibi affair comes at a particularly tense moment for the country. The downing of an Israeli war plane that was bombing Iran-backed positions in Syria suggests that the country is inching ever close to direct military confrontation with Iran. Trump’s ultimatums to Palestinian leaders, which were welcomed by Netanyahu, have thrown what was left of the peace process into disarray.

    And Gaza is on the verge of humanitarian collapse.

    It seems deeply bizarre that in the midst of this, a scandal over cigars and pink champagne may be what’s occupying most of the prime minister’s, and the country’s, time.
  9. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    A small and innocent media report, favorable and bearing no malice, appeared in a gossip column. Such items are routine in the life of a public official. A reasonable person feels a bit of satisfaction, but a problem person gets angry if the piece doesn’t mention his or her profession (even when that profession is totally irrelevant to the story).

    Alas, Sara Netanyahu marches to a different tune, one that includes throwing a fit and losing one's wits. The decibels endanger the eardrums of the person standing across from her. The gates of heaven close and the angels look for a place to hide. All this over a trivial matter.

    Again and again in recent years – basically over the last two decades – we’ve heard from people whose fate made them employees of that house of horrors, the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem. We’ve heard about this lady’s volcanic outbursts. The issue also appears in a lawsuit now in the courts filed by a former employee, Shira Raban.

    The public had never realized the scale of the madness. It’s only natural that such reports were previously considered exaggerations, the results of a wild imagination and a desire to hurt this friendly woman, a psy-cho-lo-gis-t! These reports were also, obviously, an attempt to damage the right-wing government and the Likud party. And now we suddenly catch a tiny glimpse that tells the whole story.

    The few seconds broadcast on the Walla News website are but the tip of the iceberg. First, the exchange (if one can call an exchange this fury that sometimes sounds animal-like) lasted more than 20 minutes. On the receiving end was the family’s media adviser, Shaya Segal (who died last year). His sin consisted of the gossip columnist’s editor not copying the press release in its entirety, omitting the word “psychologist.”

    Second, Segal wasn’t only a paid consultant – probably a salary that never got paid – he was a close friend. One may assume he sent the story to the gossip column because Sara asked him to. The nature of their relationship didn’t spare him the bloodcurdling screaming and malicious berating.

    If this was the lot of the good-natured Segal, who was considerably older than Sara Netanyahu, why would the rank-and-file employees, with their constant turnover, receive more courteous treatment? They didn’t. This was the daily ration of generations of employees who later went to court over their mistreatment. It’s likely the current staff is subject to the same.

    Third, the latest recording returns us to the question hanging over the prime minister’s residence every time testimonies break the wall of silence and are totally denied: Benjamin Netanyahu’s work environment. How can the busiest prime minister on the globe relax at home with this kind of helpmate? If a trivial matter such as a gossip column sets off such an earthquake, what happens when the media looks into the investigations into Sara herself, into the strip-club recording of their son Yair, or the corruption investigations into her husband?

    What tantrums and sleepless nights is he subjected to (there are always bags under his eyes) amid the investigations into his tycoon-funded flights, the alleged malfeasance at the residence and other shameful behavior by Sara, incidents that keep getting worse over the years?

    “We went through a course in terror” Naftali Bennett said once after serving as Netanyahu’s chief of staff; he was referring to the wife of the then-opposition leader. “Terror” as defined in the dictionary is a pretty accurate description of what can be heard on the recording just released by Walla.

    So the debate around the legitimacy of broadcasting this tape misses the point. It’s meant, in a transparent and unintelligent way, to deflect attention from the huge problem at the prime minister’s residence. This problem has a name and a look, but it’s certainly not first-ladylike.

    Against the backdrop of the lawsuits against Sara Netanyahu for her bullying behavior and humiliations of people, amid the unacceptable employment conditions, this videotape is extremely relevant. There are more tapes floating around. Walla has opened the gates. It’s time for further righteous people to come forth and walk through them.
  10. Utumno

    Utumno Administrator Staff Member

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    So regardless of whatever evidence exists, only this one dude who is sortof a lackey has the power to get rid of him, so nothing will actually happen?

    Sounds familiar-ish.
  11. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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  12. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Israel PM Netanyahu faces corruption charges

    Israeli police say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged over alleged bribery cases.

    A police statement said there is enough evidence to indict Mr Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

    Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said the allegations were baseless and that he would continue as prime minister.

    The allegations, he said, "will end with nothing".

    What are the allegations?
    One case centres on an allegation that Mr Netanyahu asked the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, for positive coverage in exchange for help in reining in a rival publication.

    Police said the editor of Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes, should also face charges.

    The second allegation centres on a claim that Mr Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister since 2009, received gifts worth at least a million shekels ($283,000; £204,000) from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters.

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

    Mr Milchan, the producer of films including Fight Club, Gone Girl and The Revenant, should face bribery charges, police said.

    Image captionArnon Milchan (centre) with Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg

    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 abroad were exempt from paying taxes for 10 years.

    The proposal was eventually blocked by the finance ministry.

    Police say Mr Netanyahu is also suspected of fraud and breach of trust in a case involving Australian billionaire James Packer.

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

    Israeli media say Mr Netanyahu has been questioned by investigators at least seven times.

    What happens now?
    A final decision on whether Mr Netanyahu should face charges will come down to the attorney general's office. A decision could take months to reach.

    Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said any prime minister who has been charged should not be obliged to resign.

    Speaking on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said he would continue in his role.

    The next legislative elections are scheduled for November 2019. Mr Netanyahu heads a fragile coalition, but on television, he appeared confident the allegations would not spur new elections.

    How has Mr Netanyahu responded?
    "Over the years, I have been the subject of at least 15 enquiries and investigations," he said in his TV address.

    "Some have ended with thunderous police recommendations like those of tonight. All of those attempts resulted in nothing, and this time again they will come to nothing."

    The 68-year-old is in his second stint as prime minister, and has served in the role for a total of 12 years.

    He has faced a number of allegations in his time in office.

    After his first term as prime minister two decades ago, police recommended that he and Sara face criminal charges for keeping official gifts that should have been handed over to the state. The charges were later dropped.

    In July 2015, the couple were accused of charging the government for the services of a contractor who did private work for them. The charges were later dropped.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  13. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Israeli Opposition Hails 'End of Netanyahu,' as Ruling Party Blasts 'Coup'
    Ministers from Netanyahu's Likud party also criticized Yair Lapid, who police revealed is a key witness, calling him a 'snitch' for testifying

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party criticized on Tuesday the police's recommendations to charge him with bribery in two cases while members of the opposition hailed the "end of Netanyahu."

    Tourism Minister Yariv Levin from Netanyahu's Likud party said the recommendations "exposed a coup against the voters."

    Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wrote on Facebook that only the attorney general can make a decision regarding an indictment, and called for people from across the political spectrum to stop attacking the police and the rule of law.

    Education Minister Naftali Bennet decided not to respond at this stage, but has said that the coalition won't dissolve over cigars and champagne.

    Netanyahu's coalition depends upon both Kahlon and Bennet's parties.

    Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay said that "the Netanyahu era is over, either at the ballot box or through investigations." He further added that the prime minister wounded the police and the rule of law by trying to limit the investigators and to encourage public distrust in their conclusions.

    The two cases are the so-called Case 1000 – in which Netanyahu is suspected of accepting lavish gifts from wealthy benefactors in return for advancing their interests – and Case 2000, which alleges that Netanyahu tried to strike a deal that would have provided him with positive coverage in Israel's second largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in exchange for hurting its free rival, Israel Hayom.

    Likud ministers also blasted Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, who police revealed as a key witness in Case 1000 on Tuesday. Culture Minister Miri Regev, Amsalem and Levin attacked Lapid, calling him a snitch, and saying that the reveal of Lapid's true colors was Tuesday's "only revelation."

    Labor Member of Knesset Shelly Yacimovich wrote on Twitter that Netanyahu is a corrupt tyrant, with "violent and egotistic behavior" who will do anything to survive.
  14. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Poll: Most Israelis Want Netanyahu to Resign, but His Party Is Still in the Lead
    Channel 10 finds only one-third of those surveyed believe Netanyahu's denials of the bribery allegations

    A day after police recommended charging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, two polls show that his party would still come in first if elections were held today.

    According to both polls, Netanyahu's Likud would win the largest number of seats in the Knesset, challenger Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would come in second and the Zionist Union would trail behind in third place.

    The police were looking into two criminal probes involving Netanyahu. In "Case 1000," Netanyahu allegedly received champagne, cigars, jewelry and clothing, by demand and systematically, valued at over one million shekels (around $280,000). The gifts he received from the Israeli-American Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan increased significantly once Netanyahu was elected prime minister.

    Regarding "Case 2000," the police contend that Netanyahu and the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper Arnon Mozes had a give-and-take relationship meant to benefit them both.

    The biggest surprise to emerge from the police recommendations is that Lapid, Netanyahu's political nemesis, testified against him in one of the cases.

    News that Lapid had testified against Netanyahu sparked outrage among the prime minister’s supporters, who accused the opposition leader of an attempted coup.

    The polls were conducted by Channel 10 and the Israel Television News Company (formerly Channel 2). The Channel 10 poll found that 53 percent of the those surveyed doubt Netanyahu's denials of the allegations and just over one-third believe him. The News Company's numbers were slightly higher, with 40 percent siding with Netanyahu and 45 percent saying they do not believe him.

    Channel 10 learned that while 71 percent of respondents said their opinion of the prime minister hasn't changed since the police investigation, half of those polled would like to see Netanyahu resign or be temporarily removed. Fourty-two percent said they want him to continue in his role.

    The News Company asked respondents whom they believed about the allegations, Netanyahu or Lapid. Thirty-five percent said they put their trust in the Yesh Atid chairman while 30 percent said they believe Netanyahu.
  15. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    For First Time Since Israel Boycotts Far-right Party, Netanyahu Meets Austria's Kurz, Diplomats Confirm
    Israeli prime minister met with leader in Munich, despite Jerusalem's boycott of Austrian ministers from party with Nazi roots

    MUNICH - Austrian diplomats have confirmed Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met on the sidelines of the security conference in Munich this weekend.

    Addressing reporters after their meeting, Netanyahu said he and Kurz met at Kurz's request. “He has told me about all the measures they are taking against anti-Semitism and for Israel. [Kurz] said he intends to change Austria’s voting record at the the UN and that he also intends to support Israel's candidacy for the UN Security Council. A very friendly meeting, I think he spoke to the point,” Netanyahu said.

    This was the first meeting between the two since Kurz was elected to lead Austria and formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party. Following the formation, Israel decided to boycott ministers from the party, which has Nazi roots.

    Last week, MK Yehuda Glick from Netanyahu's Likud party met with Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, both members of the Freedom Party, despite the boycott.

    Strache, who was appointed as Austria’s vice-chancellor in December, heads the FPO, which is known for its anti-Semitic and Nazi roots. Critics say the party has not yet relieved itself from its past, while Strache has been trying to present himself as pro-Israel in recent years.

    The Austrian government took office at the end of last year, following two months of negotiations between Kurz, who heads the center-right People's Party, and Strache. When Strache's party joined a coalition government in 2000, Israel recalled its ambassador and downgraded relations.

    Announcing the boycott in December, a statement by Israel's Foreign Ministry noted that Netanyahu had a direct line of communication with the Austrian chancellor.

    Kurz, for his part, accepted Israel's boycott, saying it will be his party's "task to do a good job at home as well as convince abroad," and that he is "optimistic" that they will succeed to "dispel all concerns."
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    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting at the White House on March 5, two US officials said on Friday.

    "The president has a great relationship with the prime minister and looks forward to meeting with him," a White House official said.

    The meeting will be the fifth between Trump and Netanyahu since Trump took office in January 2017 and comes as Netanyahu faces a legal firestorm at home.

    The leaders have twice met at the White House, in February and May 2017. The two leaders' last meeting came on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January.

    Following their Davos meeting, Trump threatened to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they did not pursue peace with Israel, saying they had snubbed the United States by not meeting Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit.

    Speaking in Davos, Netanyahu said only the United States could broker a peace deal.

    "I think there's no substitute for the United States. As the honest broker, as a facilitator, there's no other international body that would do it," Netanyahu said.

    Trump said Palestinians had to come to the negotiating table.

    "Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace and they're going to have to want to make peace too or we're going to have nothing to do with them any longer," Trump said.

    Netanyahu praised the Trump administration's "rock solid support" at the United Nations following the backlash regarding Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  17. Utumno

    Utumno Administrator Staff Member

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    They should invite Erdogan too and just make it a party.
  18. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    David Melech Friedman (born August 8, 1958) is an American bankruptcy lawyer and the United States Ambassador to Israel. He joined the law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman (then known as Kasowitz, Hoff, Benson & Torres) in 1994, where he met and represented Donald Trump, then chairman and president of The Trump Organization. He served as an advisor to Trump during his successful presidential campaign. In December 2016, President-elect Trump's transition team announced that Friedman was Trump's nominee for ambassador. His nomination was met with support from conservative Israeli and Jewish American activist groups, and opposition from liberal advocacy organizations, particularly J Street. He was confirmed by the full Senate on March 23, 2017, with a 52–46 vote, officially sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on March 29 and presented his credentials on May 15.

    "Are J Street supporters really as bad as kapos? The answer, actually, is no. They are far worse than kapos—Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps. The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel's destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas—it's hard to imagine anyone worse.[30]"

    U.S. ambassador says massive settlement evacuation could spark civil war

    U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a closed door meeting yesterday in Jerusalem that a massive evacuation of Jewish settlements from the West Bank could lead to a civil war in Israel.

    According to three people who attended the meeting, of the conference of presidents of the Jewish organizations in North America and shared their notes with me, Friedman said that the approximately 400,000 settlers who live in the West Bank "are not going anywhere…and significant evacuation could result in a civil war. This is my opinion".

    Friedman was asked if he thought the reason will be the refusal of IDF soldiers to obey the orders of the government. He explained that Israel’s military is more and more being lead by "Religious Zionists" who are committed to this land because they see it as their God-given Land.

    The history
    The future of the settlements is one of the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Israel pulled out unilaterally from Gaza it evacuated all 8,000 settlers who lived there.

    In all previous negotiation rounds during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations there was a common understanding that in a future peace deal most of the Israeli settlements would be annexed to Israel and the rest will be evacuated. During several rounds of negotiations in the past, ideas were floated about some settlers staying in their homes as Palestinian citizens.

    More from Friedman's remarks
    • The end of 2019 is an outside date for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and it will happen sooner.
    • The administration is realistic and is not overselling the prospects of a peace deal, but Trump is committed to trying to reach one. The administration does not believe that threats or pressure on Israel would help achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians.
    • The claim that a peace deal is needed to keep Israel as a Jewish and democratic state is a platitude because for 25 years people have been saying that and Israel has only thrived and prospered.
    • A peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians will be an achievement but it will not solve problems like ISIS or Hezbollah and for that reason security for Israel and the region is paramount.
    • There must be Israeli Security control in the Jordan valley (the border area between the West Bank and Jordan) in any future peace deal, otherwise the West Bank will turn into a second Gaza.
    • Israeli-Palestinian future relationship should be not a marriage but a divorce. But until now the Palestinians have not shown themselves capable of building institutions that will allow them to live in peace with their neighbors.
  19. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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  20. Czer

    Czer I'm a poor person. The lambo is my cousin's.

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    Netanyahu Inquiry Expands, With New Bribery Allegations
    FEB. 20, 2018

    JERUSALEM — The mushrooming corruption scandal plaguing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel took a surprising new turn on Tuesday, with an allegation that one of his closest advisers had sought to bribe a judge into dropping a criminal investigation involving the prime minister’s wife.

    At the same time, the Israeli police said they had arrested several of Mr. Netanyahu’s friends and confidants, as well as top executives of Bezeq, the country’s biggest telecommunications company, in a widening inquiry into whether Mr. Netanyahu had traded official favors for favorable news coverage.

    The new allegations significantly raise the level of political and legal peril the prime minister faces, suggesting that he or some in his camp could be exposed to charges of obstructing justice.

    On Tuesday night, Mr. Netanyahu’s situation appeared to become even more grave, as Israeli news organizations reported that one of those arrested — a top government official who reported directly to Mr. Netanyahu on the Bezeq affair — was in talks with prosecutors to become a government witness.

    Mr. Netanyahu was already embattled, after the police recommended a week ago that he be prosecuted for accepting what they said were bribes worth nearly $300,000 from wealthy businessmen seeking government favors.

    With this latest round of allegations he will come under even greater strains, accused by his critics on the left of saber rattling over Iran and pressured by the right to accept its agenda of expanding settlements and annexing the West Bank in return for its support.

    Late Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu released a video denying the newest allegations, calling them “hallucinatory” and “baseless” and part of a “campaign of persecution against me and my family that has been going on for years.”

    Even Israel’s enemies have begun seizing on Mr. Netanyahu’s legal predicament: In Munich on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pointedly alluded to Israel’s “domestic corruption” problem in accusing Mr. Netanyahu of “aggression” to distract attention from his political troubles.

    Back at home, opponents from the Israeli left and center are demanding that Mr. Netanyahu resign or declare himself “incapacitated”: Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party, calling in vain for a no-confidence vote, said Monday that Mr. Netanyahu should appoint a temporary prime minister from within his own party.

    “Israel deserves a full-time prime minister who is not engaged in anything else,” Mr. Lapid said.

    Another of Mr. Netanyahu’s main challengers, Avi Gabbay of Labor, said that the prime minister had “become a liability for the citizens of Israel.” Mr. Gabbay lamented Mr. Netanyahu’s “sickly obsession for ‘what will people say’ and what will be written about him in the media,” adding: “Every day that he stays in office is damage to the country.”

    Yet, Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition appears solidly behind him. On Tuesday morning, even as reports were first surfacing about the attempt to bribe a judge, the prime minister’s coalition allies were loudly denouncing the police commissioner as biased and unprofessional, while accusing him of leaking like a sieve about the various Netanyahu-related probes.

    At the center of the two new allegations is a close adviser to the prime minister, Nir Hefetz, a veteran Israeli journalist and political operative who in recent years has bounced back and forth between editing jobs and tending to the public image of the prime minister and his family. In 2015 he was a top strategist for the Likud party’s successful election campaign.

    Late that year, according to the police and Israeli news reports, Mr. Hefetz, working as the Netanyahu family’s media adviser, passed a message through an intermediary to Israel’s commissioner for prosecutorial oversight, Judge Hila Gerstel: Would she drop a corruption case against Mr. Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, in exchange for being named attorney general?

    The case was not dropped, and Judge Gerstel did not become attorney general. Avichai Mandelblit, who did get the job, announced in September that he intended to indict Sara Netanyahu on fraud charges, accusing her of misusing some $100,000 through her management of the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem. Mr. Hefetz resigned as the Netanyahu family’s spokesman in October.

    The family’s current spokesman, Ofer Golan, denied any attempt by Mr. Hefetz to sway the judge’s actions. “Nir Hefetz never offered this hallucinatory proposal to the prime minister and his wife,” Mr. Golan said in a statement. “He was never asked to make such a proposal, and we do not believe that Hefetz even raised such a thing.”

    He added sarcastically, “The Netanyahu couple will soon be accused of murdering Arlosoroff,” referring to the Zionist leader Chaim Arlosoroff, who was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1933.

    The arrests in connection with Bezeq — a $2.9 billion telecom giant with telephone, television and news divisions — involve official actions taken by Mr. Netanyahu’s government that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars to a near monopoly enterprise that sends monthly bills to most ordinary Israeli voters.

    Bezeq’s subsidiaries include a cable television company and Walla, a news website. Mr. Netanyahu’s aides are suspected of trading favorable treatment by the Communications Ministry, which regulates the company, for favorable coverage by the news site. (The police last week accused Mr. Netanyahu of a similar swap: bargaining for favorable coverage in Yediot Ahronoth, a big Israeli daily, by offering its publisher help in fending off a competitor.)

    Mr. Netanyahu personally directed the ministry from 2014 to 2017. During that period, Bezeq’s controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, was trying to merge the Yes satellite-television company, of which he owned half, into the larger conglomerate, but at terms that were far more favorable to him than to Bezeq’s shareholders.

    Mr. Elovitch sought a series of regulatory approvals that were opposed by low-level officials in the Communications Ministry but approved nonetheless.

    A crucial letter from a top ministry official in late 2015 was of enormous value both to the company and to Mr. Elovitch, said Gad Perez, a reporter for the Globes newspaper who broke a number of major stories on the case.

    A 2015 article in Haaretz, meanwhile, reported that Walla’s journalists were pressured by Mr. Elovitch to provide doting coverage on both the prime minister and his wife. (Walla has since changed its tune.)

    On Sunday, the police arrested Mr. Hefetz; Shlomo Filber, who was director general of the Communications Ministry and reported directly to Mr. Netanyahu; Mr. Elovitch; his wife, Iris; his son, Or, who was a director of both Bezeq and Yes, the cable TV company; Stella Handler, Bezeq’s chief executive officer; and Amikam Shorer, the company’s business development manager.

    The Bezeq inquiry involves suspicions of obstruction of justice, as well as fraud and breach of trust, the police said on Tuesday in lifting a gag order on the names of those arrested.

    Reuven Kuvent, a former investigations chief of the Israeli Securities Authority, said the challenge for law enforcement officers would be to establish an explicit link between the favorable news media coverage and the government’s aid to Bezeq and Mr. Elovitch. “Things like that are not a written contract,” Mr. Kuvent said. “So what they’re trying now is to get a state’s witness: Elovitch, Hefetz or Filber.”

    Indeed, Mr. Filber was close to becoming a state witness, Israeli news organizations reported Tuesday night. “They need a connection between the Bezeq story and Walla news,” said Shmuel Sandler, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University. “Maybe he will be it. If so, then that could change everything.”

    The allegation about Judge Gerstel is not the first time Mr. Netanyahu or one of his aides has been accused of using the office of attorney general as an inducement.

    In 1996, during his first stint as prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu was accused of striking a complicated three-way deal to name Roni Bar-On, an unexpected candidate, as attorney general to obtain the support of Arye Deri, a minister who was on trial for bribery, for a disputed plan to overhaul security arrangements in Hebron.

    Mr. Bar-On quickly resigned amid criticism of his appointment. An investigation led to a police recommendation that Mr. Netanyahu be charged with fraud and breach of trust. But Mr. Bar-On’s replacement as attorney general, Elyakim Rubinstein, dropped the case, citing a lack of evidence.