US/World News

Netanyahu says “so what?” to likelihood of corruption charges

(JTA) — Reacting to reports that police likely will recommend that he be charged in at least one corruption investigation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud party supporters, “So what?” “(T)here will be recommendations, so what? Here’s a fact you probably don’t know: Over 60 percent of police recommendations are thrown out and never result in indictments,” Netanyahu told party members at a convention at Kfar Maccabiah, near Tel Aviv, on Tuesday night, Dec. 19. He also said the media had mounted a witch hunt against him, Haaretz reported. Netanyahu compared himself to President Reuven Rivlin, who several years ago was subject to police investigations that did not bring any charges.

“What will happen with the recommendations? Here’s a spoiler. In a few weeks, reporters and commentators will sit in the television studios and begin the news with, ‘[These are] serious recommendations. One could even say, very serious. Perhaps one of the most serious the state has ever known,’” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “You may ask, how do I know this? As early as January 2017, almost a year ago, the news item was miraculously leaked: The police will recommend an indictment against Netanyahu. They knew a year ago, even before the investigation.

“Why did it take a year? A waste of time and public funds. And then there will be recommendations. So what?”

Netanyahu is a suspect in two corruption investigations. In one, he is suspected of receiving expensive gifts from supporters. In the other, he is accused of conspiring with Arnon Mozes, the owner of the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot, to advance legislation hobbling the free and pro-Netanyahu tabloid Israel Hayom bankrolled by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

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