Israeli police name Tata in case against Netanyahu

Israeli police name Tata in case against Netanyahu

Nearly half of Israelis (48 percent) believe that the country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resign amid police recommendations for his indictment on corruption allegations, a poll showed.

An ashen-faced Netanyahu said in a televised address: "I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you".

Bennett said at a meeting of local governments in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he believes in Netanyahu's "sincere motives", but "taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time is not living up to this standard" expected of the premier.

Under similar circumstances a decade ago Mr Netanyahu, then the opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign after police recommended he be indicted, saying a leader "sunk up to his neck in interrogations" could not govern properly.

Beloved by his base and respected even by his adversaries as a guardian of Israel's security, Netanyahu remains the dominant figure on the Israeli stage, his combined 12 years as prime minister closing in on the record of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's principal founder. Netanyahu, however, said his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation, which prompted calls for his resignation. "I can say this is a slanted document, extreme, full of holes, like Swiss cheese, and holds no water".

One of the cases, known as Case 1000, alleged the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust by the prime minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu".

" I am certain, as I have always been certain, and nothing has changed, that the truth will come to light and nothing will come of this".

Polls published on Israel's three main television channels showed that more people believed the police's version of events than Netanyahu's. Netanyahu's attacks were made in response to remarks made by Police Commissioner Inspector-Generl Roni Alsheich, who hinted that Netanyahu had sent private investigators to collect information against police officers who are involved in his case.

It is now up to Israel's attorney-general to decide whether to file charges.

Despite the evidence against him, Mr Netanyahu is standing strong - for the time being.

"I was a member of Likud in 1999 when Netanyahu was an unpopular prime minister, but today he is very popular", he said.

He was chosen the Prime Minister of Israel in 2009.

Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said none of Netanyahu's coalition partners had any incentive to rock the boat.

Police said in a statement that Netanyahu had accepted gifts valued at 750,000 shekels ($214,000) from billionaire film producer Arnon Milchan, and in exchange Netanyahu had operated on Milchan's behalf on US visa matters and helped Milchan with the Israeli media market.

While an indictment alone would not legally oblige Netanyahu to resign, he would likely face mounting pressure to do so.