(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu issued a calming message to the Israeli political establishment and the public Wednesday morning, announcing that "the coalition is solid. Neither I, nor anyone else plan to go to elections. We will work for your benefit until the end of the term."
Addressing the police recommendations to charge him for corruption during a speech at a municipal leaders gathering in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called it "a slanted document, and full of holes like Swiss cheese."
"It ignores a 20 year friendship between Milchan and me," Netanyahu added. "We exchanged gifts well before I was in office."
Netanyahu said the police also inflated the amounts of the gifts he received, "all in order to reach the magical number NIS one million."
He maintained that contrary to what the police said, he had "proven that I acted against Milchan, not in his favor."
The recommendations, which police made public on Tuesday night, were at the more serious end of the range of charges that had been expected to be leveled against Netanyahu in two criminal investigations that have gone on for more than a year.
One of the cases, known as Case 1000, alleges the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu."
The second, Case 2000, also alleged "bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister" and by the publisher of the largest-selling Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Arnon Mozes. The two men, police said, discussed ways of slowing the growth of a rival daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, "through legislation and other means."
Netanyahu, who has denied wrongdoing, has been questioned several times by police since the start of 2017.