Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel Police chief Roni Alsheich said in a closed meeting with top police command in Tel Aviv on Monday that he gives his full backing to the investigators probing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I have to doubt that the leaks, that those leaks, are not coming from the police,” he was quoted as saying in media reports, reacting to Netanyahu’s remarks about leaks from the investigations being conducted against him.
“The investigators are keeping the purity of the investigations and their hands are clean,” Alsheich said. “I have full faith in the way that sensitive investigations are being conducted by the police.”
On Saturday, Netanyahu responded to a report on Channel 2 News that said he will soon be questioned again, by blaming the police’s external media adviser Lior Chorev
Netanyahu said, “His illegal leaks have become a tsunami.”
Channel 10 news reported that Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan called Alsheich to express their support in the wake of the alleged verbal attack. The report said they called because of their feeling that they would be attacked next.
It was also reported that Nitzan on Monday addressed the issue of investigation leaks in a lecture in Tel Aviv University.
Nitzan reportedly said that, although Netanyahu’s outburst came after a rather minor report, the leaks are a bad phenomenon.
“We are trying to combat it. It is very difficult,” he said.
Benjamin Netanyahu dismissive of corruption allegations on January 2, 2017
Earlier on Monday, a group of former senior police officers sent a letter to Alsheich titled “Standing by your side [Nitzavim L’tzidchem].” In the letter, the writers expressed their concern over what they see as an offensive against the police.
“In recent months we are following worryingly various legislation initiatives... The connection between them is an attempt to harm the independence of the police,” the letter said.
“Recently, we have also witnessed an unprecedented aggression at the police and its head. As ones who commanded police units in different levels and different times, and as ones who took part in sensitive investigations, we are convinced that searching for the truth is the only thing that concerns those who are involved,” the letter added.
The officers ended by saying they supported the police chief.
Among those who signed the letter were former police chiefs Assaf Hefetz and Moshe Karadi.
According to media reports, the police are expected to question Netanyahu in near future about the “Gifts Affair” and the “Israel Hayom Affair.”
In the former, known as Case 1000, Netanyahu is alleged to have illegally received expensive gifts from a number of businessmen.
In the latter, known as Case 2000, Netanyahu allegedly tried to sway the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot to give him favorable coverage in exchange for his support for a bill that would weaken a rival paper, Israel Hayom.