March 29, 2000
Hatzofeh claims that the police recommendation to indict Benjamin
Netanyahu “was inevitable” since the police “did not have the
courage to come down from the high tree they had climbed.”
The police must now answer to the public: Why they opened the
investigation, why did it last seven months, why were there so
many leaks and why did they focus on non-returned gifts when
other former prime ministers also did not return gifts.
The editors call on the Attorney-General “to act courageously;” he
carries the heavy responsibility whether to submit an indictment
if there is no overwhelming proof. The editors claim that the
evidence submitted regarding the gifts and the so-called bribes
paid by Amedi – who will be a state’s witness – are unproven.
The editors call on the Attorney-General not to indict since it will
do serious damage to the office.
The police investigation and recommendations to indict
former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife continue to occupy the
Israeli public – analysts and private citizens alike.
An editorial in Ma’ariv today states, “There is nothing in the investigation or
indictment to support the charges that the investigation was politically motivated,”
while Yediot Acharonot asks,
“Have we become Sodom? How has it happened thatwe are
facing such idiotic corruption? Has the police inspector-general become a
HaTzofeh wrote, “The investigation against Binyamin Netanyahu
was one big farce. Such great efforts to find blame have never been invested
in the history of the state… This is a bad day for democracy…”
Mr. Netanyahu received an opportunity to argue his case yesterday- not in a legal
forum, but on prime time television. In an early hour-long interview with
journalist Dan Margalit, Netanyahu attempted to rebuff the charges against
him, stating that he was being pursued by an overly-zealous, misguided
Israel police department.
Netanyahu displayed samples of the gifts he received, and for which he and his
wife were interrogated by police for hours at a time. One of them was a six-shekel pin
given to Sarah Netanyahu by an official of the Israel Diamond Exchange. Another was a
replacement for a meal served them on a trip to China that the couple did not wish to eat – a
special mix for coating bananas, presented to them from an apologetic
Netanyahu also spoke of the tremendous grief the drawn-out investigations caused his
elderly mother, who passed away two months ago.
Prof. Shalom Albeck, former Bar-Ilan University Law School
Dean, discussed the case with Arutz-7’s Ron Meir last night. Meir asked him
why the Netanyahu investigation dragged on for so manymonths, why those
involved were interrogated for such extended periods of time (ranging from 4
to 8 hours on each occasion) and why President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister
Barak – who may have been involved in seemingly more serious scandals – have
been treated with kid gloves.
Prof. Albeck responded: “For outsiders such as myself, this seems to be a
case of political persecution carried out by a certain circle…
Netanyahu was seen as the Prime Minister of the right wing,
and there are elements that want to make it impossible for him to return to
the political arena, and this is the way to do it…
It seems that the system has become somewhat corrupt. One gets the impression that
the police and the legal system are being used for political purposes….”