April 20, 2018

Bad Bibi

Aaron Lavitsky ‘19

On Tuesday, February 13, Israeli police announced the indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after finding sufficient evidence of corruption. These charges include bribes and breaches of trust. These charges, however severe, may just be the tip of the iceberg for Israel’s leader.
In response to these allegations, Netanyahu was quick to refute the possibility of his guilt, claiming that “there will be nothing because there is nothing.” Netanyahu then added these attacks are nothing new, saying “today isn’t different from any other day which I’ve been through in the past 20 years.”
The two charges against Netanyahu are entitled Case 1000 and Case 2000. Case 1000 detailed several gifts that Netanyahu received, including alcohol, cigars, and jewelry, from private foreign entities. These charges occurred between 2007 and 2016 and amounted to around $280,000, according to Israeli police.
Also detailed in the case was the fact that Netanyahu attempted to give tax cuts to these private entities in exchange for these gifts. Israeli police have also charged several people who attempted to give gifts to Netanyahu in exchange for these tax breaks with bribery.
The second of the two charges detailed how Netanyahu conspired with the head of a newspaper to portray him and his party in a good light. According to police, Netanyahu told said head of newspaper that he would lower the circulation of a rival newspaper in exchange for better coverage.
According to Israeli law, Netanyahu is not legally obligated to step down as prime minister until his conviction has been passed through several courts within the Israeli judicial system, a process that could take years.
However, this by no means relieves the pressure on Netanyahu.
Several parliament members and Israeli officials have already for Netanyahu to come clean and step down. Members of other parties have called for him to resign, and Netanyahu’s government coalition is already paper thin. If the opportunity to break his coalition and force new elections were to arise, several parties would pounce on the chance, sighting these allegations as cause.

While these allegations may seem serious, they are not necessarily pressing. While nothing may be done about these allegations in the near future, one thing is for sure - like Netanyahu’s stark demeanor, they won’t be going away anytime soon.

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