Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted Tuesday on three charges of corruption including charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust.“The indictment was filed a short time ago… as is required by law,” Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s office said.
Hours before the indictment was announced, Netanyahu withdrew his submission for parliamentary immunity.
“If anyone still had any doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the target of obsessive persecution, he was now given further clear and sharp proof,” sources close to the Prime Minister, according to the Times of Israel, were quoted as saying. “The eagerness to file the unfounded indictment against the prime minister is so great that they could not wait even one day until after the historic summit in Washington, one of the most important in the history of the state.”
The news came as the Prime Minister visits President Donald Trump in Washington in anticipation of his administration’s Middle East peace plan. In a Facebook post, Netanyahu criticized Mandelblit’s timing as he participates in the “historic mission” to the U.S.
“During this fateful time for the people of Israel, while I am in the US on a historic mission to shape Israel’s permanent borders and ensure our security for future generations, another Knesset episode is expected to begin in the immunity circus,” the prime minister wrote.
“Since I was not given due process, because all the rules of the Knesset were trampled on, and since the results of the procedure were pre-dictated without proper discussion, I decided not to allow this dirty game to continue,” Netanyahu added.
The first case, Case 4000, involves the Bezeq-Walla Affair, in which the Prime Minister instituted policies to support Shaul Elovitch’s business, in exchange for positive coverage in Elovitch’s news group Walla.
The second, Case 1000, involves illegal gifts (hundreds of thousands in Israeli currency) from wealthy business people in exchange for legal, business support. It was deemed a ‘conflict of interest.’
Case 2000, ediot Aharonot-Israel Hayom Affair, supports that Netanyahu helped squash the news coverage of Israel Hayom’s reporting in exchange for a favorable interview with Yediot Ahronot.