Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long faced harsh criticism and intense efforts by his detractors to remove him from power, and judging by recent reports from Israel, they may now be pursuing legal means to do just that.
According to Fox News, Israeli police officers questioned Netanyahu and his wife in their home for several hours on Monday in relation to a pair of thinly-sourced allegations that they have been involved in public corruption.
It has been alleged that, while in his role as a public servant, Netanyahu and his family have illegally received valuable gifts from Israeli and foreign businessmen.
“The national police unit questioned the PM Benjamin Netanyahu under caution on the suspicions of receiving benefits,” read a statement from the police. “He was questioned for three hours at his residents (sic). At this stage there is (sic) no further details to be given.”
The U.K.’s The Guardian reported that Netanyahu has denied any sort of wrongdoing in relation to the months-long investigation into whether he was given gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels in exchange for political benefits to the businessmen. The shekel currently trades at about 3.9 shekels to the dollar.
“We notice reports in the media. We hear the celebrations and sense the way the wind blows in TV studios and in the halls of the opposition,” the prime minister reportedly said during a meeting with members of his Likud Party. “Hold off on the partying, don’t jump the gun. I told you and I repeat: Nothing will happen, because there is nothing. You will continue making wild allegations and we will continue leading the state of Israel.”
According to Reuters, this isn’t the first time an Israeli prime minister has been questioned as part of an active criminal investigation.
Indeed, Ehud Olmert, who served as prime minister in 2006-2009, is currently serving time in prison after being convicted of bribery and breach of trust in 2014.
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also questioned regarding allegations of bribery involving Sharon and his his sons while serving in office during 2003-2004. One son, Omri, was ultimately convicted of corruption and served time in prison.
To be sure, while anti-Israel Netanyahu-haters will undoubtedly seize upon this as a chance to discredit and embarrass and perhaps depose the current leader of Israel, even some of his political opponents in the country are cautioning others against pressing this too hard and are expressing their hope that he isn’t implicated in any sort of crime, citing the previous examples of things like this happening before.
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