Netanyahu downplays police bribery recommendations

Opposition: PM must quit, submits Knesset dispersal bill

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his wife Sara, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, November 11, 2018 (photo credit: FRANCOIS MORI/REUTERS)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his wife Sara, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, November 11, 2018
(photo credit: FRANCOIS MORI/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly mocked the Israel Police's recommendations on Sunday to indict him and his wife Sara for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair.
In Sunday's meeting of Likud ministers, when they offered Netanyahu encouragement, he said they were taking the case more seriously than him.   
"The police recommendations have no legal standing," Netanyahu said. But they "are not surprising."
"I am sure that even in this case, the competent authorities, after examining the matter, will reach the same conclusion - that there was nothing [to find] because there is nothing [to find]," Netanyahu added. 
But opposition leaders said they were taking the recommendations very seriously. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said "Netanyahu must go, before he destroys law enforcement authorities in order to save his own skin." She said the people of Israel deserve leadership that is clean and therefore there must be elections.
"Netanyahu, your time is over," Zionist Union faction head Yoel Hasson said. "Israel must go to elections, not in May or November, but now!"
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg submitted a bill to disperse the Knesset and called upon all MKs who care about clean governance to vote for it.
"The most serious bribery case so far leaves no room for doubt,"  Zandberg said. " The prime minister has no moral and public mandate to sit in his chair and must resign today. Israel must go to elections."
Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said he feared the government would collapse if the Case 4000 recommendations prove to be true.
"I very much hope that the police recommendation will prove to be incorrect," Ariel  said on Sunday. " I hope that the prime minister will be eligible and the government will continue to function for the benefit of the people of Israel."
The decision to publish the results of the investigation comes on Police Chief Roni Alsheich's final day. Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud), who is close to Netanyahu, said the timing was no coincidence.
"Alsheich continues to do everything he can to slam the door as hard as he can as he leaves," Regev said. "I trust the prime minister and his wife, who are honest and and fair people, who care about the State of Israel and its citizens. It is time to stop hanging elected officials in public squares."