After a long and much-discussed police investigation, Israeli law enforcement authorities are recommending that the country’s attorney general formally charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with corruption in two separate cases.
One case stems from claims that Netanyahu and his wife shook down rich acquaintances for luxury gifts. The other is a bit more exotic, involving an alleged deal whereby Netanyahu secured more favorable coverage from a major newspaper in exchange for government interference with a competing newspaper’s distribution practices. The screw-ee in that alleged scheme was none other than American casino mogul and political busybody Sheldon Adelson, in the past a big buddy of both Netanyahu and Donald Trump.
The charges if pursued and confirmed would definitely land Netanyahu in the hoosegow. But it could take a very long time, as Haaretz reports:
The procedure for indicting a public figure is far from speedy. First, prosecutors have to consider the evidence the police have provided. Then they have to give it to Netanyahu’s lawyers, after which a hearing is scheduled with the attorney general, where the prime minister’s team can argue why the evidence is insufficient.
Only then will [Attorney-General] Mendelblit make his final decision on whether the prime minister will face charges. Potentially, this process could be extremely long. The police investigation took far longer than expected due to Netanyahu’s busy schedule and extensive travel. The same reasons may be used to extend the process of organizing his team’s pre-indictment hearing, thus delaying the filing of any potential indictment.
In the meantime, Bibi has taken a page from the playbook of his friend Donald Trump by attacking the investigation as a political conspiracy, denying all charges, and vowing to stay in office until his enemies have all died in humiliation and shame. Like Americans, Israelis will now have to live with the fear that the leader of their government might do something irresponsible to distract attention from his legal troubles or build public support. At least they have the solace of knowing that Netanyahu can read an intelligence briefing without getting bored and reaching for the remote.