“A criminal leader for a criminal ‘state.’ How appropriate.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will not step down even if the regime’s attorney general seeks to indict him for corruption.
“No, I don’t intend to resign,” he told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro in response to a question whether he would take the decision if Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit acted on the police’s recommendation that the premier be indicted.
Netanyahu faces three corruption cases.
In Case 1000, he is suspected of receiving gifts from businessmen overseas. He is also being investigated in Case 2000 for an alleged media bribery scheme to help Yediot Aharonot newspaper against its competitor Yisrael Hayom in return for favorable coverage. Case 3000 surrounds Israel’s $2-billion purchase of Dolphin-class nuclear-arms-capable submarines from German shipbuilding company ThyssenKrupp.
Netanyahu, who always denies committing any corrupt practices, said he was convinced that the three cases against him will yield “nothing.”
“Imagine if ultimately the case was closed, and a prime minister had been ousted. That would be ‘a terrible blow to democracy,” he said.
“Israeli law does not require that a prime minister resign during the process of a hearing,” he said, and noted, “The hearing doesn’t end until my side is heard.”
Last Monday, Netanyahu’s coalition announced snap polls after his ruling Likud party failed to garner the necessary support to pass a controversial legislation aimed at drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.
However, with opinion polls showing that Likud could easily win the April 9 vote, originally scheduled for November, observers say the party has called early elections to give a fresh mandate to Netanyahu to help him sustain the corruption drama.