Netanyahu reacts to likelihood that police will recommend corruption charges: ‘So what?’


(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.

He also said the media had mounted a witch hunt against him, Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu also 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, known as Case 1000, he is suspected of receiving expensive gifts from supporters. In the other, Case 2000, Netanyahu 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.

Israel’s public security minister, Gilad Erdan, also of Likud, said Wednesday in a speech to the Knesset plenum that the prime minister’s words require a more “in-depth explanation.” He noted that his office oversees the police.

“I am not satisfied with all of his statements, and I am not satisfied with the style or the interpretation that can emerge from these statements,” said Erdan, The Times of Israel reported. “I say from this podium that I think police are doing their job and I do not question their role.”

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