Israel political crisis mounts over Netanyahu corruption revelations
23 January 2017
Leaked video tapes have revealed the pervasive and corrupt relations between Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, his family, the media, and billionaire bosses at home and abroad. The tapes are the subject of police investigations.
Notorious for his hobnobbing with the financial elite, it is now clear that “gifts” Netanyahu received from his wealthy friends were down payments for favours.
This latest corruption scandal underscores the degree to which Israeli politicians are in the pocket of media networks and big business. Far from being the Middle East’s “only democracy,” Israel’s political system has more in common with mafia rule.
Given the damning contents of the tapes, it will be difficult for Netanyahu to avoid a criminal prosecution, despite having appointed close associates to the positions of attorney general and police chief. Such a prosecution could precipitate his resignation and early elections this year.
Like almost all of Israel’s prime ministers after the first, David Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu and his family have faced numerous allegations of corruption and even preliminary investigations. His immediate predecessor Ehud Olmert received a jail term for bribery offences when he was mayor of Jerusalem prior to becoming prime minister.
But the legal authorities, who have come under continuous attack from successive Netanyahu-led governments, have been reluctant to prosecute him—supposedly due to a lack of evidence that the gifts were actually exchanged for political favours. Now, the police, who have revealed few details of the investigations, have questioned Netanyahu three times “under caution” in relation to two cases.
According to the…