Benjamin Netanyahu announcement: “I demanded a confrontation with state’s witnesses.”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded to be allowed to meet with the state’s witnesses on his three corruption cases in a statement to the press Monday.
“During the investigations, I demanded a confrontation with state’s witnesses,” Netanyahu said. “I wanted to look them in the eyes and show them the truth. I asked twice and was rejected.”
Netanyahu wondered why his requests were rejected, saying such a meeting would help reveal the truth.
“What do they have to be afraid of? What are they hiding? I am not afraid. I do not have what to hide. Therefore, tonight, I repeat my demand for a confrontation with state’s witnesses…I am certain that I am right,” he stated.
Netanyahu clarified at the beginning of his statement that he is not trying to undermine the rule of law, calling the judiciary one of the foundations of Israeli democracy. However, he added, like the Knesset or the government, the judicial branch is not immune from criticism.
Police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted after they concluded three investigations. Case 4000 (the “Bezeq-Walla! Affair”) is considered to have the strongest evidence, and may bring a bribery indictment. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is charging Netanyahu with breach of trust, but not bribery, in Case 1000 (the “Illegal Gifts Affair”). Case 2000 (the “Yediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair”) may still be closed entirely.
Referring to Case 4000, Netanyahu asked “What are they talking about when they say bribery?… They’re talking about positive media coverage. Me? The person most hated by the media? It’s absurd!”
Netanyahu accused Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid of meeting with Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes dozens of times, something Lapid has denied, supporting the bill that would close Yisrael Hayom, Israel’s highest-distribution newspaper, and then receiving positive coverage in Yediot.
“The 43 MKs who supported the bill [to shut down Yisrael Hayom] weren’t even invited to coffee with the investigators,” Netanyahu lamented.
Netanyahu also posited that if he “led another disengagement or agreed to divide Jerusalem or give up on Israel’s security, all of the investigations against [him] would end.
“I will never do that,” he vowed.
The Justice Ministry responded that Netanyahu’s investigations were professional and thorough, under the State Attorney and Attorney General’s supervision, and they are reviewing the outcome of the probes.
“It would be inappropriate for law enforcement authorities to refer to the actions taken in the investigation and the details of testimony in the media, certainly not at this point,” the Justice Ministry spokesman said.