22 November 2019
Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit has indicted prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (in picture) on several charges of corruption including bribery, fraud and breach of trust, based on recommendation by the police. The indictment is the first of its kind against a sitting Prime Minister. This is the gravest crisis in the political career of Israel’s longest-serving leader. Netanyahu said on Thursday he would not resign despite being charged with corruption.
Mandelblit said on Thursday that in an October hearing, Netanyahu’s legal team had the opportunity to try to persuade Mandelblit not to formally indict the prime minister. But ultimately, none of the arguments raised in the pre-indictment hearing changed the legal underpinnings of the suspicions.
 In the most serious case that has come to be known as Case 4000, the prime minister allegedly promoted regulation that benefited a telecom company called the Bezeq Group, in exchange for favourable press coverage on a news site run by its subsidiary. It was reported that Netanyahu and his associates were allegedly able to influence content on Walla! News for about five years. He was also getting involved in the hiring of editors and reporters.
 The attorney general also charged Bezeq’s controlling shareholder and his wife, Shaul and Iris Elovitch, with bribery, obstruction of justice and suborning a witness.
The Elovitch couple generally complied with whatever demands were made by Mr. Netanyahu, said the attorney general.
 Netanyahu has been in power continuously since 2009 and before that in the 1990s. He dominated Israeli politics for a generation, turning the country to the right. He has denied wrongdoing in the three graft cases, saying he is the victim of a political witch hunt.
The third election within a year is expected to be announced within weeks, after two inconclusive elections since April. Both Netanyahu and his chief rival, Benny Gantz, failed to form coalition governments. Now the parliament is engaged in a new round of political haggling about whether anyone else has the support to form a government.
wypr.org reported.